FORMER president of the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers’ Trade Union Rudranath Indarsingh said there is nothing for the trade union movement and the working class to celebrate on Labour Day on Wednesday.
The opposition MP criticised the ruling administration, saying the movement and the workers have been “literally emasculated” by the Keith Rowley administration since it came into office in September 2015.
In a press release, the Couva South MP said: “Labour Day is supposed to be an opportunity for workers to celebrate the progress and gains that they have secured.
However, every single gain secured by the working class has been completely taken away by this anti-worker Government in the last three years and eight months.”
Indarsingh said this period has been characterised and “rocked by scandal after scandal,” massive retrenchment and disrespect for the trade union movement.
The MP said after September 2015, the government failed to advance the rights and well-being of workers through training, education and opportunities that they need to meet the emerging trends in the job market.
“It has presided over the loss of over 50.000 jobs and has been the most incompetent and anti-worker/anti-Labour administration that TT has had to endure since Independence. Thousands of workers, whether they were from Petrotrin, TSTT, UTT or EMBD are not sure of their pension benefits.”
Indarsingh accused the administration of continually violating the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act ,which exists to protect the rights and hard-earned benefits that trade unions had secured for their members.
He called on Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus to say when her ministry would be bringing to Parliament the amendments to vital labour legislation promised after the closure of Arcelor Mittal and Centrin.
Indarsingh praised the former prime minister, saying the People’s Partnership Government settled over 135 negotiations and had vehemently opposed any oppression of the working class during its tenure in office.
Organised labour, he said, has lost ground as a result of unsympathetic and hostile PNM policies, contempt and lack of respect for the workers of the country.