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Carmona: Give fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay

Monday, June 19 2017

JUST as employers must provide good working conditions, employees must give a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, said President Anthony Carmona in his Labour Day message yesterday.

Recalling the oilfield riots of 1937 when exploitation of labour, poor working conditions and worker abuse ran rampant in the oilfields and canefields, he hailed past labour leaders such as Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler and Adrian Cola Rienzi who fought for the downtrodden working class.

Saying modern Trinidad and Tobago has enjoyed the fruits of the labour and struggles of the oilfield workers, he said, “The greatest homage we can pay to those workers, their labour leaders and our own fore-parents is to improve upon their legacy of a work ethic that does not fall short, a genuine work ethic that translates an honest day’s work into an honest day’s pay.” Carmona said we live in progressive times where gender discrimination in wages is unacceptable; where the minimum wage is not unreasonable; and where trade unions are legally recognised, so allowing for civilised negotiations, bargaining rights and opposing worker actions. However, more must be done to reach international benchmark standards required of the employer-employee relationship.

“Our nation requires, now more than ever, a workforce comprising principled, ethical, dedicated and innovative men and women, who can contribute to raising our productivity levels and national income.

“To achieve the type of socio economic standard of living that is concomitant with our comfort, wealth and access to material goods and necessities, which as Trinbagonians we deserve, we must equally be ready, able and willing to meet international benchmark standards of productivity.” Productivity can only come from true collaboration between workers and employers.

“Indeed, it must be recognised that just as the trade unions have a mandate to safeguard workers’ rights and working conditions, workers themselves owe a duty of diligence to their employers in getting the job done efficiently, effectively and pro-actively.

“The holistic relationship between employer and employee must recognize the interdependence of one with the other; a symbiosis that guards against indispensability and tyranny and rather, promotes respect for authority, leadership and the fostering of good relations in the workplace.” Carmona cited the national watchwords of Discipline, Tolerance and Production for creating a solid work environment, yet noted the value of balancing work with family time to foster happy and productive employees and employers.

“I wish the people of this nation a happy and reflective Labour Day 2017 and urge wisdom in improving our labour and industrial practices. May God bless the labour movement of this great Republic, as we look forward to improved relationships among our people, in and out of the workplace.”

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