AFTER walking out of the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC) over what it saw as government’s failure to adhere to agreed policies, the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) is once more reviewing its position on the council.
However, president general of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget said before they return to the NTAC, “Disrespect for labour must be brought to an end.”
Roget said they will be delivering a letter to the chair of NTAC requesting that all issues are brought before the council for immediate discussion, in accordance with the September 13, 2017, memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
As he addressed the OWTU’s 79th Annual Conference of Delegates on Friday, Roget said the MOU committed the government to consultations on major issues of governance, particularly issues that impact workers. He said at the September 13, 2017, meeting, the three trade union federations met with the PM and all agreed to five approaches for the union to return to NTAC.
He said there was agreement for a moratorium on retrenchment until December 31, 2017, but government went contrary to this, sending thousands of workers home.
Nevertheless, Roget said, government want them to continue business as usual. “Business as usual while they send workers home. Business as usual while they plan to send home 287 workers at UTT. Business as usual while they plan to send home 2,000 workers at Petrorin. For us it cannot be business as usual, therefore we are currently reviewing our participation in NTAC. This disrespect for labour must be brought to an end.”
Roget said retrenchment has hurt people who are struggling to earn a living. “Today, the reality on the ground is that many people are crying out that prices keep going up; that they are finding it difficult to make ends meet; they are struggling to put food on the table or even send their children to school.
“Minimum wage earners, single parents, retirees, those at the lowest end of the economic ladder, they are the ones feeling it the most. The majority of whom can least afford, they are the ones saddled with this most unbearable yoke of economic adjustment.”
“The government and big business are simply passing on this huge debt burden onto the backs and shoulders of the working class, in their desperate attempt to reduce the deficit. This is having profound effects on social cohesion and is creating major instability in communities throughout the country.”