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Sunday 18 February 2018

Tensions rise as PoS council workers await payment

President General of the Amalgamated Workers Union Michael Prentice and General Secretary Cassandra Tommy-Dabreo, speak to reporters during a press conference at the Union's headquarters in Port of Spain yesterday.

Over 1500 daily-paid workers employed by the Port of Spain City Corporation are now considering their options as they have not yet received their salaries for the past two weeks from the Ministry of Finance.

This, according to Michael Prentice, president general of the Amalgamated Workers Union yesterday.

Prentice said, despite a meeting with the city council on Wednesday, the union was yet to receive word on when workers would be paid. He said, while he believed strike action at this stage would harm dialogue with the ministry, the union was not responsible for the actions of the workers and feared that if left unaddressed the consequences could be severe. “We have tried as a union to ensure that we stay away from any disturbance, because we understand the economic situation in the country, but we will not be held responsible in the event workers take action because it would have come from the fact that they would have worked and not been paid. We are calling on the powers that be to ensure that workers are paid their salaries from tomorrow.”

Prentice estimated the outstanding money owed to the 1,500 workers to be $4 million and said that he intended to hold a meeting with the general membership of the union by Monday if the situation went unsolved. He added, despite repeated attempts to contact Mayor Joel Martinez and Deputy Mayor Alderman Hillian Morean, he had not received any word on the state of payments.

Yesterday, Newsday spoke to Morean who said, to his knowledge, payments were issued sometime yesterday afternoon. He added that the city corporation took the welfare of its workers very seriously.

However, Prentice said that up until late yesterday afternoon, workers had not received their salaries.


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