PETER BURKE, vice president of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) has sent a stern warning to the government to settle its outstanding debts to TTEC or face consequences.
At a press conference at OWTU’s office, Henry Street, Port of Spain yesterday, Burke said the government had not been faithful to the Electricity Act, and TTEC had not had a rate increase since 2005.
“TTEC has receivables to the tune of $700 million. Out of that $700 million, $600 million is owed by the State. Now, TTEC is governed by an act, and that act states that TTEC is supposed to generate enough revenue to cover its operating expenses and finance its capital development.”
When asked what will happen if the money was not recovered, Burke said, “The citizenry will suffer a drop in service, and all who are responsible for it will simply blame the workers without looking at the big-ticket items. “I want to reiterate the fact that the State is the biggest debtor to TTEC, and the big suppliers and large industries (are) making huge profits on the backs of TTEC workers and its low rates.”
Burke also accused the government of breaking the law through the Regulated Industries Commission. He said there is a shortage of 300 to 400 workers and there are fewer than 200 in administration.
He said being left in temporary positions of four to five years meant workers couldn’t do anything. “We feel that it is time for those workers who have been there for four to five years be made permanent, because a temporary worker can’t do any business. “They can’t get any mortgage, they don’t get any loan in the bank. So we feel that it is important that these workers are regularised as soon as possible.”
Burke appealed to the good nature of the government to pay the $600 million debt, as there is “no excuse not to pay.”