JTUM stands with TTUTA over wage protests

OWTU president Ancel Roget.
OWTU president Ancel Roget.

GOVERNMENT'S victory in the Industrial Court on Sunday, which put paid to the planned "rest and reflection" day of protest on Monday, is being termed "a frontal attack" on the trade union movement by JTUM head Ancel Roget.

Representatives from several unions, under the umbrella of the Joint Trade Union Movement (Jtum) gathered on Wednesday at the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) office in Barataria, as a show of solidarity with the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA).

Also present were the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU), the TT Registered Nurses Association, the Contractors and General Workers Trade Union, Communications Workers Union, Postal Workers Union, Industrial and General Sanitation Workers Union, and Fire Services Association and another umbrella body, the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC).

Roget said the entire movement stands behind TTUTA in its rejection of Government's four per cent salary increase offer, its opposition to the non-consolidation of COLA, and the CPO's non-use of a labour market survey in wage-talks with TTUTA. He urged members to stand up for their rights

"We no longer live in a democracy. We are under the feet of a crushing government," Roget said.

He complained that the Prime Minister was making public statements which Roget said were tantamount to negotiating in public, in place of the chief personnel officer (CPO).

He also accused CPO Dr Darryl Dindial of having not having any meaningful engagement with TTUTA and of bullying that union with a "take it or leave it" stance.

He said the Government was crushing all voices of dissent, especially those from the labour movement. He warned that such actions would only serve to unite the movement.

Roget also accused the police Special Branch of visiting schools on Monday to monitor which teachers turned up for work after the Sunday injunction barring teachers from protesting. With crime running rampant, Roget suggested the police's time could be better spent elsewhere rather than in schools.

He vowed, "A number of things will happen in this country to ensure every citizen, every person gets justice."

NATUC head Michael Annisette said anyone who could read should thank a teacher.

"If you pay teachers peanuts, you'll get monkey education," he said, adding that collective bargaining must be done between partners, not by way of unilateral action, arrogance and threats to go to court.

"Because you see a bald black man you think he is one of us, but judge them by what they do," Annisette said.

Saying "four per cent can't cut it," Annisette vowed to bring action like a thief in the night.


"JTUM stands with TTUTA over wage protests"

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