PUBLIC Services Association (PSA) President Watson Duke, who is known for having protests on various issues, was himself the subject of a union protest yesterday as PSA workers slammed him as a hypocrite and a dictator following the firing of eight employees.
The protest was held on Monday outside the PSA offices on Henry Street, Port of Spain.
Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) PSA Branch President Kester Duncan, who was fired after 28 years, told the media the workers were sent home for wearing their BIGWU tee shirts to work; BIGWU represents the workers at PSA. He reported the workers were protesting a number of issues including the poor condition of the building, leaking toilets, lack of a pension plan and salary negotiations.
"This has to be totally wrong. And this is a union leader talking about fighting for the rights of workers in the public sector. You cannot fix your own house but you want to tell people how to build and construct theirs outside. Something has to be wrong. Mr Duke is not just a hypocrite. He is a dictator."
BIGWU President Vincent Cabrera described the situation as "The greatest piece of industrial relations madness I have seen in years."
"Here is a case where the workers protesting a number of issues including the lack of a valid pension plan are being dismissed simply because they wore a union jersey. And this is a union president dismissing workers because they have on union jerseys. And I can only say at this point in time there is some kind of madness going on here because no one in their correct mind would dismiss workers for wearing a union jersey and you yourself claim you are a trade unionist."
Duke came into office during the protest but did not speak to workers and ignored the requests for an interview from the Newsday.