Labour leaders are expected march through the streets of Port-of-Spain on Friday, as they prepare to protest against the Government’s continued four per cent offer to public sector workers.
The march will also be in solidarity with Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) workers, with the company scheduled to undergo restructuring.
Speaking yesterday during a news conference at the Public Services’ Association building in Port-of-Spain, the three union federations joined under one banner “Unite to Fight.”
Joint Trade Union Movement president Ancel Roget said, “The two per cent was disrespectful, coming and telling us that is the final offer. Four per cent is even more disrespectful and today as we prepare for Friday, we reject outright the disrespectful offer of that four per cent and the Chief Personnel Officer position. When this fight is over, one set of people will remain standing and it cannot be the People National Movement (PNM), it has to be the trade union movement and law-abiding working-class persons.”
Most trade unions are currently in negotiations with the Chief Personnel Officer and the Government has stated that the final offer is four per cent.
The unions are expected to assemble on the Brian Lara Promenade in Port-of-Spain.
This will be another protest by the unions, they having also staged one in May. The unions claimed over 10,000 workers come out to take part in the May event and on Friday they expect to see that number increase.
PSA president Leroy Baptiste added, “We are here to fight that and to bring a stop to the exploitation of workers and the proliferation of incident work in this country. We are here to ensure that the attack on organised labour comes to an end, that is what the restructuring outcome is. When they say restructure, they rename a company automatically with no union representation because with union representation it means better jobs and better terms and conditions.”
He added, “Members, it is time for us to open our eyes and see that this Government is engaging in the most frontal attack on the trade union movement since our existence in this country and we have to stand up and bring an end to that.”
The three labour unions partaking in the march on Friday are the National Trade Union Centre, Joint Trade Union Movement and Federation of Independent Trade Unions.
＿(Reporting by Otto Carrington)