THE Communications Workers Union (CWU) is not comforted by a recent statement by Housing Minister Camille Robinson-Regis about proposed restructuring at the Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT).
Robinson-Regis is the chair of a Cabinet sub-committee on TSTT.
On Monday, CWU general secretary Clyde Elder said, "The minister simply paved the way for TSTT to retrench workers."
In a statement on May 13, Robinson-Regis said, "At a meeting with the CWU on May 10, 2022, the Cabinet sub-committee on TSTT informed the representatives of the CWU that it would communicate with TSTT to consider halting its proposed restructuring exercise, until the sub-committee had completed its findings.
She said at the relevant time, the committee was not aware of nor part of, TSTT’s operations or the details of how it planned to implement the restructuring.
Further, she said the Government's position on the proposed restructuring was clear.
"The matter of restructuring, including its shape, timing, and form, is a matter solely for the company and not for the Government." This was because of the legal ownership structure of TSTT.
"TSTT is not a state enterprise and the Government does not have direct legal control over TSTT.
As a result, she said, the sub-committee was in no position to instruct TSTT to change or stop the restructuring,
Robinson-Regis said the sub-committee advises Cabinet about TSTT's standing, including whether it was fit for purpose. Hence it was obliged to say TSTT was free to proceed with its day-to-day operations, including restructuring, as it saw fit, while the committee finished its work.
Talks between TSTT and the CWU about the company's proposed restructuring are ongoing.
In a statement in March, TSTT said no decision had been taken on the proposed restructuring.
Also in March, in response to opposition questions in Parliament, the Prime Minister said, “Funding is required to support the restructuring effort, and TSTT, which is 51 per cent owned by the local population and 49 per cent by a foreign company, is in the process of securing the necessary loan financing."
Dr Rowley added, "Due to the sensitivity of this matter, and the stage it has reached, it would be premature and irresponsible of me to say anything further at this time.”