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Saturday 18 November 2017
Local

UTT workers protest

WORRIED: UTT staff from various campuses protest outside the Ministry of Education on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain yesterday.

UPDATED:

Staff of the University of Trinidad and Tobago, in fear of losing their jobs ahead of a planned restructuring, yesterday took to the picket line outside the Ministry of Education in Port of Spain.

“We are not waiting until we see workers on the street. We are taking in front before front takes us,” said Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget.

“There is an attempt through the guise of so-called restructuring through the reduction of the number of campuses from 15 to six. That would have a devastating impact on the number of workers who now service all of those campuses.”

Roget spoke with the media against the background of placard-bearing protesters, who chanted to express their concerns. The UTT has some 1,200 staff. As corporate management and academic staff are removed, he said, so too will workers on the lower tiers.

Government’s budgetary allocation of $200 million this year, a reduction of $100 million from last year, he said, has resulted in the university’s board of directors attempting to cut back on the number of staff. “If that is contemplated at all, that will be brought to the National Tripartite Advisory Council.”

The restructuring, Roget said, was an attempt to politically victimise workers. “So there is an attempt to weed out who they think is UNC, as was the attempt by the UNC to weed out who they thought was PNM. So it is the same thing happening over again.

“Government, led by its Prime Minister and Minister of Education and the board of UTT,” he said, “is attempting to severely and seriously politically victimise and hound out what they consider to be UNC people. We make no apologies for saying that. It was wrong when the UNC people were doing it against the PNM. It is wrong for the PNM to be doing it now.”

Saying it was the workers who had to pay the price, Roget said, “Government is not making any sacrifice, you know. They and their ministers are making absolutely no sacrifice.”

Anybody who supported the sending home of workers, as an attempt to get back at the UNC, he said, “Such a person should get their head examined, because it will just be a matter of time before they will fall in that same position.

If staff are sent off the job, he said, “I can tell you specific courses of actions are coming. Whether they like it or not, action will be coming.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

Staff from the University of Trinidad and Tobago, in fear of losing their jobs ahead of a planned restructuring of the national university, took to the picket line this morning outside the Ministry of Education.

“We are not waiting until we see workers on the street. We are taking in front before front takes us,” said Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget.

Stay with Newsday for more updates.

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