National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) General Secretary Michael Annisette is “putting Government on notice” not to take away the subsidies for gas.
At a press conference held yesterday morning at the Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union office in Port of Spain, NATUC General Secretary Michael Annisette said if it is the intention to have the subsidies removed, he urged Government, “Please do not walk that road.”
If the subsidies are removed, he said, Government “is going to see an avalanche coming from all the trade unions and federations in defence of the working class because removing that subsidy has serious implications for the working class of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Meanwhile, NATUC president James Lambert said, Government knew that the local trade union movement was not going to attend Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s pre-budget forum and as such it cannot use labour as a scapegoat as a part of its public relations mechanisms.
Two weeks ago, he said, when the joint trade unions met with him, Lambert said, it was made quite clear that labour did not want to be used.
Government created the National Tripartite Advisory Committee involving labour, business and Government and it was agreed that their issues would be dealt with at that level.
NATUC third vice president Nirvan Maharaj said Government inviting federations and individual trade union leaders was a blatant attempt to divide labour leaders and to undermine the labour movement.
Government was aware of the labour movement’s position on the economy, he said, and has made several recommendations in this regard including proposing that foreign companies contribute to an indemnity fund so that what occurred when ArcelorMittal packed up and left forcing workers on the breadline does not recur, and workers could be compensated.
Wednesday’s forum, he said, has to go beyond all the same old problems that were discussed and deal head on with the issues of capital flight, under-invoicing, foreign direct investment, and import dependency among others.