Pricesmart workers settle for 10 % wage hike

In this file photo, a Pricesmart employee checks a customer's goods at the Port of Spain business.  -
In this file photo, a Pricesmart employee checks a customer's goods at the Port of Spain business. -

IN the past three weeks the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) has signed off on collective agreements for workers at Yara Trinidad Ltd, Damus Ltd, Trintoc Penal Credit Union, Bristow Trinidad Ltd and Pricesmart Ltd, the union said in a statement on Friday.

The statement said the labour movement was fighting for equality for the working class and was the main defence against an aggressive anti-worker environment.

The collective agreement between Yara and the OWTU covered 2019-2022, and 2022-2025 respectively, for the hourly-rated/monthly-paid bargaining unit 1 and the monthly-paid bargaining unit 2. The terms of these agreements were made in an MOU after the workers strike on March 24-31.

"Workers in each bargaining unit have received a ten per cent increase over the two periods."

The workers also got the consolidation and retroactive payment of their Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA).

Most importantly, said the union, was Yara's assurance to give first preference to its retrenched workers to fill new vacancies. Yara also gave its commitment to the collective agreement's contract clause whenever it hires contractors.

The Damus settlement was for 2017-2020, and covered weekly and hourly-rated workers, plus monthly-rated workers, with workers getting a five per cent increase.

"In addition to the increase in wages however, workers who are members of the OWTU also received an $8,000 bonus." Non-members did not get the bonus.

At Bristow, the collective agreement was for 2022-2025 for aircraft handlers who received an eight per cent increase plus consolidation of COLA.

At Pricesmart, for 2021-2024, workers got a wage hike of ten per cent, plus an increase and consolidation of COLA. This collective agreement was for three bargaining units – the hourly-rated/paid and hourly-rated bi-monthly paid employees, the monthly-rated executive assistants, and the monthly-rated loss prevention officers.

At Trintoc Penal Credit Union, workers in two bargaining units got a five per cent increase for 2020-2022, plus a consolidation of travelling and COLA allowances.

"The consolidation of outgoing travelling and COLA allowances have been added to each worker’s base salary together with a new travelling allowance and COLA."

The OWTU represents two bargaining units at Trintoc – monthly-rated and assistant manager.

The statement said the labour movement stood as "the last defence for the working class."

"As such, with the avenue of collective bargaining being one of the main tools of working-class, the OWTU as part of its agenda for fairness and justice remains resolute in its fundamental principle to fight to ensure all workers benefit by obtaining a fair share of the profit/wealth their labour creates.

"Therefore, with the signing off of the above-mentioned collective agreements, and the others currently in negotiations, the OWTU continues to strive to remain ahead, by seeking to attain the best for our members and workers without having to accept anything below what they rightly deserve or are entitled to."


"Pricesmart workers settle for 10 % wage hike"

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