Duke: What is Govt’s labour policy?

PSA president Watson Duke       PHOTO SUREASH CHOLAI
PSA president Watson Duke PHOTO SUREASH CHOLAI

NATIONAL Trade Union Centre (NATUC) president Watson Duke yesterday called on government to reveal its policy for Venezuelans who have been given the green light to work legally in TT for a year.

"What is the work policy?" asked Duke, who is also president of the Public Services Association

"How do we incorporate them in a society that is bursting at its seams with frustration over the lack of employment and the lack of nothing to do, where the wages are already small?"

Duke told Newsday the issue will be one of the main items on the agenda during tomorrow's Labour Day celebrations in Tobago.

"We have a particular view on the Venezuelans entering TT and being given work permits ahead of Africans, Chinese, everyone else who is here."

He added: "And how do we incorporate them in a workforce that is already saying, 'There is not enough jobs for us,' and an educated one at that. Would they be given menial tasks, thus alienating those persons who have fallen through the cracks in society? If you give them those jobs, where do you leave your people?"

Duke said the country's struggling economy cannot afford to be overburdened.

"There are a number of issues boiled up together in a pelau and so (Tuesday) will be a day for venting, giving direction and challenging the status quo."

Duke, who is also political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots, said the issue of wages will also be high on the agenda.

"Wages are stale by some five years. We are collecting wages in 2019 that are from 2013, and the government seems not to care about that. They are building highways, investing in stadiums, renting expensive boats. They looking to increase their pensions and not looking after workers."

Saying governance was at an all-time low, the NATUC leader accused the government of running the country like an autocracy.

"There is no consultation. They have abandoned the tripartite consultations with labour and they are doing as they please, left, right, centre, and nobody could advise them and talk to them. So, we are challenging the system of governance that is parading itself as democracy. It is really autocracy."

Duke said he also intends to discuss the public offices that are not adhering to proper health and safety standards. He claimed many retirees develop medical conditions because of the poor environmental standards at the offices in which they worked.

Tuesday's celebration begins at Shaw Park from 10 am. Members of the labour movement are expected to walk along Milford Road to the Scarborough Esplanade where a rally, featuring several addresses, will held.

Unions expected to participate in the observance include the National Union of Government and Federated Workers Union, Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union, Transport and industrial Workers Union and the Tobago Truckers' Association.


"Duke: What is Govt’s labour policy?"

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