ENERGY Minister Franklin Khan said on Wednesday that new industrial relations measures must be adopted to ensure that the nation’s industrial development thrust was not affected by labour unrest.
Khan was addressing a town meeting at the Vessigny Secondary School, La Brea.
He said although the aluminium smelter plant had been shelved by the previous People’s Partnership administration, the downstream aluminium industry presented several opportunities for the region including the construction of a cable and wire plant and an aluminium flat roll plant. In a power point presentation, Khan said the region had had its fair share of “attempted industrialisation” opportunities and this was the third attempt to develop a Point Lisas type model.
“La Brea development has been characterised more by opportunities lost than opportunities found,” Khan said, and noted that labour-related issues continue to hinder the region’s development.
“TOFCO (Trinidad Offshore Fabricators Unlimited) had it when it was being constructed, TGU (Trinidad Generation Unlimited), had it when it was being constructed, CGCL (Caribbean Gas Chemical Limited) has it. We cannot continue like that,” he said, adding, “Other jurisdictions have learned to resolve issues without obstructing development.”
However he noted that he was not supportive of paying inferior wages or disregarding Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) standards.
“I do not support paying inferior wages. I do not support working under conditions that are contrary to OSH standards.
However, industrial relations resolutions needs to be adopted,” he said.