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Indarsingh accuses Gov’t of undermining labour laws

Monday, June 19 2017

SAYING over 25,000 workers had been placed on the breadline while many more are fearful of losing their jobs, Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh has called on government to lay in Parliament amendments to the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act, as well as the establishment of an unemployment insurance fund as a means of stabilising the country.

In a Labour Day message yesterday, Indarsingh also criticised government’s message issued by Public Administration Minister Maxie Cuffie who said his government was “committed to working closely” with the trade union movement to ensure that workers’ rights were always respected and that the gains won over the years would not be callously eroded.” “Exactly the opposite is happening in the country,” Indarsingh said in a media release yesterday.

“The principles of good industrial practices and the labour laws of our country are being undermined by this Government. Workers and the labour movement have absolutely nothing to celebrate on Labour Day after 21 months of the Keith Rowley led-Government.” Indarsingh said the prime minister as well as the ministers of finance, energy, public utilities and agriculture must tell the labour movement how many more thousands of workers would be forced on the breadline as a result of the closure of the Board of Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise with the coming of the Revenue Authority, the restructuring of Petrotrin, ADB and NAMDEVCO and TSTT in relation to the $255M acquisition of Massy Communications. Indarsingh said Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste- Primus, a former trade union leader, had “totally betrayed the labour movement and workers” and had presided over the “collapse of a joint memorandum of understanding signed between the PNM and the labour movement prior to the September 2015 general election.” “Today, the labour movement has withdrawn from the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NATC) and social dialogue is no longer on the Rowley- led administration’s radar.” He said workers were being “pulverised with sustained taxation” while there had been three increases in the price of gas and diesel and the restoration of VAT on 7,000 basic food items.

Indarsingh said the property tax as well as a “sliding TT dollar have resulted in a total erosion of workers’ purchasing power resulting in thousands of families having great difficulty in putting bread and butter on the table for their dependants.

“I am asking Baptiste- Primus to tell the 25,000-plus workers who have lost their jobs, especially those of Arcelor Mittal and CENTRIN, what has become of her ten-point plan and her announcement of 35,000 Canadian jobs for citizens to drive long haulage trucks in Alberta which will lead to them acquiring Canadian citizenship,” he said.



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