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Monday 9 December 2019
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Duke: Govt to employ V'zuelans through agencies

Venezuelans get instructions on the deadline day for registration at Caroline Building in Scarborough last week. PHOTO BY DAVID REID
Venezuelans get instructions on the deadline day for registration at Caroline Building in Scarborough last week. PHOTO BY DAVID REID

President of the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) Watson Duke Wednesday claimed the Government is seeking to amend the Recruiting of Workers Act to allow Venezuelan migrants to access jobs through recruitment agencies in TT.

"There is a law they are going to amend just now called Recruiting of Workers Act. It is an important act. The act will see our Venezuelan brothers and sisters choreographed and placed into groups under recruitment agencies," Duke said at a Labour Day rally, hosted by NATUC, on the Scarborough Esplanade.

Duke told public sector workers the migrants "will be given jobs – that you are not doing perfectly – at a lower rate of pay."

He added: "When they fail to amend the Retrenchment and Severance Benefit Act, Industrial Trade Union Act, Industrial Relations Act, the Trade Union Act, the Maternity Act, the Minimum Wages Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act and a number of other acts, they want to amend the Recruiting of Workers Act 1939. That is to ensure they can bring our brothers and sisters from Venezuela into work at peppercorn rates."

Duke, who is also president of the Public Services Association, said migrant workers are being exploited around the world.

"In the UK they are being exploited. They have little or no rights. This is what the government is about to do, mark my words. So what you saw last week (the registration process) was really part of a choreography to put them together and then 'Mr Big' and 'Mrs Big' will take them and now seek employment in the airport and on the garbage trucks, in different places, and you (local workers) will be looking for employment."

He urged the workers to stand up and fight back.

The political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots, Duke, said he decided to get into politics to represent workers on a grander scale.

He said the PDP will launch its campaign for the 2020 general elections and 2021 Tobago House of Assembly election within the next few months. Duke said he will be relinquishing his role as PSA leader to fight the Tobago East and West seats.

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