These are the Media releases recently issued by the Union and other organisations/people..
On February 27, 2014, John Julien, the Secretary General of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) issued the following statement:
At a COSSABO of all TSTT Branches of the CWU, held on Wednesday 26th February, 2014, the issue of Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago Limited, (TSTT) proposed Voluntary Separation Initiative and Five (5) Year Strategic Plan was discussed and debated in detail. (SEE LETTERTS AND STATEMENTS ATTACHED BELOW)
After making a comprehensive analysis of the current challenging economic environment; the significant role that TSTT has to play in the provision of universal Telecommunication Services to the country as the dominant provider; and, the projected negative and debilitating impact that these initiatives would have on the workforce of TSTT and the wider national community, it was the unanimous position of the COSSABO that these initiatives relative to Voluntary Separation/Early Enhanced Retirement and the Five (5) Year Strategic Plan as proposed by TSTI', should be rejected.
The COSSABO calls on the Board of Directors of TSTT and the State, as the majority shareholder in the Company, to take note of the decision of the COSSABO and be so advised that they should immediately take steps to withdraw these proposals.
In addition, the COSSSABO calls on the Company to take all necessary steps to immediately resolve the numerous outstanding issues which the union has repeatedly identified and which it says are impacting negatively on the morale of the employees of the Company and the sustainability and viability of the Company, inclusive of the protracted Wage Negotiations for the Senior and Junior Staff Bargaining Units; the Medical Plan for Bargaining Unit Workers and Retirees; the TELCO Pension Fund Plan; the TSTT Pension Fund Plan; the filling of numerous vacancies in the Company; the abuse of Contract Work; the illegal alteration of terms and conditions of employment for Bargaining Unit workers through the unilateral implementation of Organizational Structures; and the infringement of Occupational Safety and Health Provisions.
The COSSABO further calls on the State to do all things necessary to acquire full ownership of TSTT' to ensure that this viable, important and profitable national asset continues work in the best interests of all nationals of the country through the provision of affordable and reliable Telecommunication Services to the nationals of Trinidad and Tobago.
In that regard, the Communication Workers' Union stands in readiness to engage in meaningful discussions with all stakeholders in an effort to ensure that TSTT becomes the Telecommunication Services Provider of choice in Trinidad and Tobago.
Joseph Remy, President of The Federation
of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs, (FITUN) issued the following statement on
February 19th 2014.
Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs, FITUN wishes to publicly state
that while the recent statements by Senate President Timothy Hamel Smith
reflect a fundamental show of contempt for the people of this country, we are
not at all surprised by them.
luncheon hosted by the Port of Spain Rotary Club, the Senate President
attempted to justify the need for the increases for Parliamentarians by saying
that the current Salaries did not represent a "living wage.”
wishes to make it pellucidly clear, that the records will attest to the fact
that no Member of Parliament including Senators receives less than $ 10,000.00
per month currently. The question which has to be asked is whose standards are
being measured to determine the bar for a ‘living wage ’.
Senate President went on to elaborate on his insensitive statements by saying
that one cannot take care of a home and family on these salaries. FITUN would
like to state that if there was ever any doubt that those in exalted office
were totally disconnected from the reality of the people they are entrusted to
serve, any such doubts would have been removed yesterday by the class based
position adopted by the goodly Senator.
is an unprecedented level of insensitivity as it relates to the realities of
the majority of citizens in this country. The CSO figures show that there was
an average salary of below $7,000.00 for our workforce in 2009. This figure is
significantly bolstered by the energy sector which is five (5) times the
average of other sectors and as such exerts a pull factor on the average wage.
addition, the number of workers within the energy sector is much less than
within the other productive sectors of the country. Moreover, workers employed
in the Electricity and Water Industries account for the second highest wage
bracket. The Central Bank is forced to acknowledge that the presence of unions
is significantly responsible for these higher salaries.
the fact of the matter is that the majority of the workforce remains
un-unionised, albeit due to an archaic and anti worker Recognition,
Registration and Certification process that effectively makes it impossible and
most times impractical for workers to join a Trade Union of their choice,
consistent with International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions.
workers are thus subjected to questionable terms and conditions of employment
and most significantly, they earn salaries well below the national average and
therefore, by the standards which the politicians ascribe for themselves, these
persons earn well below a ‘living wage ’.
is worse is that this is the same administration which attempted to impose the
dreaded 5% cap on wages and there was no outcry by the politically appointed
Senate President about what constitutes a ‘living wage’ at that time. Now that
the Senate President has discovered his pseudo working class lineage, FITUN now
await his support as ongoing outstanding negotiations in various sectors
continue to be unresolved, even to the point where quite a number of workers
are still working on deflated 2007 salaries in 2014.
all that exploitation takes place in some state sectors, the debate for an
increase in the minimum wage once again, gains national prominence. FITUN is
therefore calling on the Senate President to be consistent and state his
position on the current minimum wage of $12.50 per hour which works out to be
less than $2,200.00 per month and is deeply rooted way below his benchmark for
a "living wage". We are curious to know what is the position of the
Deputy President of the Senate, who is supposed to be well aware of the
challenges of representing workers, who in the majority, earn well below what
his President deems to be a "living wage.”
us also be clear however on what is not said. There is an unspoken position
that some people count and others don’t; that some must be able to live life
unencumbered while others must be perpetually indebted; that some persons are
more deserving of a what they consider a living wage than others; that there
are some who must be compensated sufficiently to meet the needs of their
families while others must ‘wine to the side ’.
rejects this outright. While Trade Unions are asked to tell their members to
batten down the hatches in the interest of country and tighten their already
touching belts while increasing their productive outputs, there is no talk of a
"living wage" and the social conditions of the members they
time has come for workers to demand their just due from this hypocritical
administration. We put this Government and the country on notice that FITUN is
preparing to heighten its activities as our member units continue to face
untenable resistance to free and fair collective bargaining at the hands of
unscrupulous employers, including the state. A "living wage" is not
the divine right of only those who are foisted upon the population due to
political allegiances. As such, FITUN commit to struggle to achieve this end
for every worker in Trinidad and Tobago.
to the wise is sufficient.
RAMLOGAN ENCOURAGES HARSH AND OPPRESSIVE MEASURES
Workers Union (NWU) notes with concern that Attorney General Anand Ramlogan was
reported in the print media to have said according to one newspaper “on the issue of appointing a police
commissioner, the AG described as “red herring” insisting someone will be
forced to perform to the maximum if left in an acting position, since if that
person did not meet the grade, someone else would be placed at the helm”.
by the highest legal adviser to the Government and the State is fraught with
negativity, betrays an ignorance of human feelings and promotes instability in
the police service and violates best practices of Industrial Relations.
How can the
failure to appoint a police commissioner for such a long period of time be a
“red herring” issue? In fact, such a failure is a grave indictment against the
government and those responsible. The Police Commissioner must be secure in his
position if he is to efficiently perform his job. He must also have the respect
and confidence of his officers.
acting police commissioner issue is pure inefficiency and political patronage
by bungling, corrupted and incompetent ruling politicians who seem to be on a
dangerous divisive path and playing for time to appoint someone to this high
prosecutorial post that will offer protection in times of need when out of
An acting Police
Commissioner or anyone not being confirmed for such a long period of time in a
job must get the feeling that those responsible for his appointment are either
dissatisfied with his performance, he is being victimised or there is another
person the authorities wish to appoint. How can such a person not be
frustrated? No such person can be forced to perform to the maximum if left in an
acting position for such a long period of time.
There can be no
incentive for improved performance based on fear of not meeting the grade and
someone else being placed at the helm in a position you have acted in for such
a long period. A person in that position must feel a sense of being used and
abused and therefore will be in a state of vexation and frustration.
General has also broken one of the fundamental best practices of industrial
relations in having persons acting in a position for a long period of time
without being confirmed in the position in which they are acting. So that our
top legal adviser to the government is encouraging the violation of good and
proper industrial relations practices and suggesting instead harsh and
What really is
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan saying to the population with this silly
statement and what is he really up to? He probably takes the citizens of
Trinidad and Tobago for fools.
The following statement was released by the Save Our Green Spaces Committee on January 25 2013:
The Save Our Green Space Committee (SOGSC) has not been in a position to brief you formally since mid-December 2013 about plans by residents of Tacarigua and other stakeholders, to seek legal redress for our well publicized concerns about proposed and actual physical developments within our Orange Grove Savannah.
You may not have been aware that planning permission was granted by the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development to the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (SPORTT) without any consultation with stakeholders in Tacarigua and with other habitual users of this iconic green space within our community. Our principal concerns continue to be the potential for adverse consequences from this development within our community and on our way of life.
We now embrace this opportunity to apprise you that members of the Tacarigua community and affected stakeholders have commenced legal proceedings to challenge the grant of planning permission for the establishment of the sporting complex proposed by the SPORTT in our Orange Grove Savannah.
Our application for leave for Judicial Review was granted by the High Court on the 7th January 2014 and we, the parties filed our claim on the 20th January 2014.
We have been privileged to be assisted professionally in taking forward these legal interventions, under the expert guidance of an esteemed three-person legal team, led by the highly acclaimed and experienced Advocate Attorney, Mr. Fyard Hosein, Senior Counsel. Other members of the team are the Junior Advocate Attorney, Mr. Rishi Dass, and our filing Attorney, Ms. Marina Narinesingh.
The Hearing (First Case Management Conference) on this High Court Matter is scheduled for the 6th February 2014 at 9:00 am in Hall of Justice, Court Room, POS 20 to which you are cordially invited to attend, if feasible. Litigants from Tacarigua and other affected parties are all expected to be present.
Prior to this however, the SOGSC expects to convene a Crucial Mass Public Assembly on Saturday 1st February 2014 at 7:30 am at the Corner of Orange Grove Road, Tacarigua and the Priority Bus Route, to which you are also invited. Feelings of our community will continue to find expression on our placards as is usual for our Citizens' Assemblies.
Thank you kindly for your interest and support.
SHOULD APPOINT INDUSTRIAL COURT JUDGES
The National Workers Union (NWU) views with concern, but not surprise, the recent appointment of four new industrial court judges. Three of the four judges appointed have no known track record in industrial relations.
This is worrying in that, in the repressive system of industrial relations that exists in T&T, the Industrial Court exercises great power and has the capacity to significantly shape the industrial relations scenario long into the future.
As far as our knowledge extends, no consultation with the trade union movement took place before the appointment of this latest batch of judges. When industrial relations practitioners are overlooked for appointment to the Court, it opens the way for uninformed and distorted perspectives to shape labour jurisprudence to the obvious disadvantage of workers.
The root cause of this situation is that the cabinet chooses the industrial court judges and therefore, the process is inextricably linked to partisan politics as in so many other facets of national life. Industrial court judges, as a consequence, do not have security of tenure and, like so many other contract “workers” in the public service, are at the mercy of the politicians. If Industrial court judges are to enjoy security of tenure their appointment should not be done by the cabinet, but should be done by an independent body.
The terms and conditions of their employment should be embedded in legislation which, among other things, should speak to their salary, pension and other benefits. Once the present system of industrial relations exists the terms and conditions of industrial court judges should not be inferior to those enjoyed by judges of the Supreme Court.
The National Workers Union (NWU) also finds it rather strange that no industrial court judge with a trade union background has ever been appointed to the Essential Services Division; yet two of the new judges who have no experience in industrial relations have been appointed to the Essential Services Division.
This certainly raises questions as to whether appointments to that Division are tainted by political considerations.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Gerry Kangalee (National Education and
Research Officer – Cell: 785-7637)
THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR COLA
THE BASIS FOR CALCULATING COLA
On January 14th the Communication Workers Union (CWU) issued the following statement to its members:
Cost Of Living Allowance, COLA as it is popularly referred to, is a long
standing means of creating an economic buffer to maintain the real purchasing
power of your Dollar against the ravages of inflation. COLA was started way
back in the War Days and eventually was pegged to the Government’s Index of
Retail Prices as determined by the Central Statistical Office. This was the genesis
of COLA by Indexation.
principle means that COLA would be calculated based on a mutually agreed to formula
between parties to a Collective Agreement using the basis of calculation x the Index
of Retail Prices as published by the Central Statistical Office. Over the
years, the Union and the Company engaged in Free and Fair Collective Bargaining
to arrive at a mutually acceptable formula for the calculation of COLA.
Central Statistical Office would publish an Index of Retail prices approximately
every 10 years and this Index would be used as the base for calculating the
COLA. When the CSO changes the Index they would normally advise on a conversion
factor to move from one Index to the other. This has been the accepted practice
between the Union and the Company over the years.
last signed collective agreement between the Union and the Company had the
following Article to determine the Cost of Living Allowance: "For the purpose of assisting in meeting
increases in the cost of living, an allowance shall be paid to each worker in
the Bargaining Unit as follows; The basis for calculation shall be the Trinidad
and Tobago Government’s Index of Retail prices using u base of 132.9 points; An
allowance of 11 cents per hour for every one (1) complete point rise above the
base of 132.9 points; The cost of Living Allowance shall be calculated each month
on the number of hours work including overtime, but the hourly rate governing
the addition, shall be the same during overtime as during normal working hours;
payments of this allowance shall be calculated for each such month to each
worker in the Bargaining Union in accordance with the increase in the Cost of
Living Index over the base of 132.9 points".
Article was based on the 1993 Index of Retail Prices. When the Court gave its judgment
for the Junior Staff bargaining Unit in December 2010, the Central Statistical Office
had published a new Index of Retail Prices effective 2003.
on advice from the CSO Office, COLA was thereafter calculated for the Junior
Staff Bargaining Unit from December 2010 based on the use of the CSO’s advice
of using a conversion factor of 1.509.
the Senior Staff Agreement was signed in December 2011, the principle of the
calculation of COLA was supposed to be applied similarly to what applied for
the Junior Staff Bargaining Unit arising from the Court Judgment of December
2010. Again, this was proposed with the clear understanding that the advice of
the CSO’s Office would be adhered to and the conversion factor of 1.509 would
the then EVP Edghill Messiah decided to use the 2003 Index of Retail Prices without
applying the conversion factor of 1.509.
As a result the COLA for both Bargaining Units was reduced from $570.90
to $380.00 in January 2012. This resulted in the Union going to the Court for
an interpretation of the 2010 Judgment and we all know that the Union was successful
in getting the Court to rule that the conversion factor had to be used as
advised by the CSO’s Office.
Company and the Union signed a Terms of Settlement for the Senior Staff Bargaining
Unit on December 17, 2013 ensuring that COLA was to be calculated based on the
our dismay, on December 19, 2013, the Company proposed to have COLA calculated using
the 2003 Index of Retail Prices without using the conversion factor as advised
by the CSO’s Office despite signing a Terms of settlement on December 17,
THE REAL HARI REVEALED
our new and now slippery and deceptive EVP, HARI JHINKOO in his update of
January 12, 2014 stated that "the
Honourable Court recognizes that parties to a collective agreement may make
proposals for a change of Index and parties to collective agreements will have
to decide on what changes are necessary to deal with the increasing obsolescence
of a discontinued Index once a new and rebased Index is introduced".
He deliberately failed to state what the Central Statistical Office advised when
they moved from the 1993 Index to the 2003 Index.
we need to expose the Deception and Dishonesty of the TSTT Executive
Management, in particular JHINKOO. He was a stranger to the truth when he
stated in his Employee Update of January 12, 2014 that the Company was
increasing its COLA offer from 11 cents to 13 cents, when in fact the 11 cents
on the 1993 Index of retail prices converts to 16.5 cents on the 2003 Index of
Retail prices consistent with the CSO’s Office advice and the statement in the
Court Ruling of September 2013.
a matter of fact, the real COLA based on the CSO advised conversion factor
would be $1235.00 and not $988. 42 as HARI want you all to believe. He deliberately
refused to quote the following excerpt from the Central Statistical Office publication
of the 2003 Retail Prices Index which states:
"The previous Index can be linked to the new or
revised Index by a simple arithmetic method. As at January, 2003 (the base
period of the revised Index), the previous or old Index was 150.9 with the
revised Index being equal to 100.0; Thus, 1.509 units of the old Index being equivalent
to1 unit of the revised Index. Therefore to link the revised Index to the old
Index, the revised Index is multiplied by 1.509. Conversely, to link the old
Index to the revised Index the old Index is divided by 1.509. It should be
noted that from the month of April onwards, the figures shown in the table of this
gazette for the ALL Items Index (September 1993=100) were not derived
independently but were linked to the All Items Index (January 2003=100) as described
addition, he deliberately tried to mislead you all when he stated that "there was no Industrial Court Judgment
or Order fixing which Cost of Living Index (1993 or 2003) or what conversion
factor, if any, is to be used in settling COLA for any period of Collective Agreement
between the Recognised Majority Union beyond December 31st 2007”.
he failed to state that in the Industrial Court ruling on the Interpretation of
the December 2010 Judgment, the Court states that: "the guidance on conversion here provided by the Central Statistical
Office indicates its recognition that the rebased 2003 Index of Retail Prices figure
CANNOT be substituted for the pre-existing 1993-based figure WITHOUT
The corollary of this recognition, in terms of
arithmetic, is a need to "convert” the number at cents per point if the
2003 based figure is to be substituted for the 1993- based figure. This is so
because each point of the 2003-based Index has a value such that, upon
conversion, it is equivalent to a greater number of points on the 1993-based
is why 11 cents on the 1993 Index must be multiplied by 1.509 to convert it to the
2003 Index. This would result in 16.5 cents.
that we have unmasked the real HARI, we must expose him to all employees. We
must let workers know how sly and deceptive HARI is trying to be. He was of the
belief that he can smile and charm this Militant and Progressive Trade Union
into giving up on our Hard Won COLA benefits.
thought that because he came from the Industrial Court, that he can baffle
workers with his B-S since he failed to dazzle them with his deceptive Charm.
HARI has been exposed for the FRAUD that he is and we must now ensure that he
gets the treatment that he deserves. 16.5 CENTS IS MORE THAN 13 CENTS HARI! WE WOULD NOT BE FOOLED BY YOUR ATTEMPTS AT
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM IS ETERNAL STRUGGLEII
40-DAYS MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR MICHAEL ALS
TUESDAY 14TH JANUARY 2014
ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH
(BETWEEN NEWTOWN BOYS AND NEWTOWN GIRLS).
FR. CLIVE HARVEY WILL BE OFFICIATING.
(PARKING IN THE CHURCH YARD)
Vincent Cabrera, President of the Banking Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) issued the following statement:
As we get ready to bring in the New Year 2014 we are minded to look back at our experiences over the past year. Without a doubt 2013 saw the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union and the wider Trade Union Movement continuing the battle against the government policy of wage restraint.
As an example alter 4 years Export Centre Company Limited, a state enterprise still cannot make a wage offer to the Union. Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance (TTMF) though willing to pay a 15% salary increase to its workers were forced to offer only 9% because of their line Minister’s instruction not to.
Notwithstanding this anti-worker policy, our Union was able to score important victories in several work places. At Republic Bank the workers got a 14% increase. Central Bank workers also got a 14% increase, while workers at Guardian Media Limited got 12% and also regained COLA alter 20 years. This is just to name a few of our successes
The year 2014 will see us continue to struggle to improve the standard of living for workers and their families. Negotiations with thirty (30) employers are still ongoing. These include First Citizens Bank, Export Center Company Limited, TTMF, TV6 and others. In addition negotiations are due to begin in ten (10) companies.
We want to indicate to all our members and the national community should take note that we shall continue to organize and mobilize our members to engage in legitimate forms of protest and action in order to bring about decent salary increases and settlements for workers we represent.
Well aware that the present government has continued the policy of the previous administration to interfere in the free collective bargaining process between Trade Unions and employers in the public sector, our Union has shown over the years that we will never be daunted by their obstructionist policies.
It is a major eye sore to all that some employers like TTMF and others are willing to pay more but are ordered by their line ministries to pay less. In other instances there are other employers who refuse to make a wage offer for years because they are still waiting on Ministerial approval to do so. In 2014, we will no longer have patience with such an approach.
2014 will also see the Trade Union Movement intensify its campaign against the governnment’s policy to privatize the assets of our people into the pockets of the ruling elites. The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) is at the forefront of this struggle.
This policy will result in the worsening of the distribution of wealth in our country. Our Union has already made it abundantly clear that we are opposed to the privatization of TTMF, Eximbank and First Citizens Bank. We maintain the view that the asset and wealth of the people of Trinidad and Tobago must be managed to the benefit of the people and not be put into the hands of big business.
Against this background and against the news of better performance by the economy of Trinidad and Tobago, 2014 promises to be a year when the industrial relations climate will be waxing very warm as Trade Unions prepare to push forward in a more resolute manner than before so that workers can enjoy a better quality of life.
We take this opportunity to serve notice of our intention to intensify our campaign for reform of labour legislation and implementation of the WORKERS’ AGENDA. We shall build on our demonstration held on November 11, 2013 against the Recognition Registration and Certification Board (RRCB) when we protested against the inordinate and frustrating delays by the Board in determining applications for recognition of specified groups of workers made by unions. We repeat our warning that the industrial relations system will collapse if the government does not carry out the reform of labour legislation that we have proposed.
Globally the world lost its premier citizen and freedom fighter of the Anti-Apartheid Struggle, Nelson Mandela in 2013. At the national level BIGWU lost its founding President, Michael Als who passed on after a long struggle. Their legacies and its impact will no doubt live on for generations to come.
2014 will also be an important milestone year for BIGWU and its members. We shall be celebrating our 40th Anniversary in the month of May 2014. In addition in 2014 the Union will have its 6th Conference of Delegates preceded by the great exercise in democracy will take place in September when our members will once again get to exercise their constitutional right to elect a new Central Executive Committee.
A Happy New Year to Trinidad and Tobago and to the members of the Union!
On 3oth December 2013, Secretary General of the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) issued the following media statement.
The Communication Workers' Union would like to publicly condemn the TSTT Board of Directors, Executive Management and by extension the Line Ministers responsible for the operations of TSTT for their boldface and obscene attempt to fundamentally change the method of application of the critically important Cost of Living Allowance, COLA, for both Bargaining Units at TSTT.
Over the years, COLA was calculated based on the economic principle of Indexation. This meant that the allowance was applied and calculated based on the Consumer Prices Index, CPI, or more commonly the Index of Retail Prices as determined by the Central Statistical Office, CSO. This principle of the application of COLA was fought for by the pioneers of the progressive Labour Movement and was applied universally in Trinidad and Tobago until sometime in the 1980's when quite a number of Companies moved away from this principle and applied what is now referred to as Fixed COLA.
The CWU as a progressive Trade Union struggled to ensure that COLA was applied by Indexation and over the years endured and won many battles to maintain the application of COLA by the Indexation Principle. To ensure that workers benefitted from the relevant buffer against the spiraling Cost of Living, a formula was negotiated and agreed upon bilaterally by parties to the Collective Agreement in free and fair collective bargaining. Within the last two years, the TSTT Board of Directors and Executive Management have brazenly attempted to interfere with the formula that they agreed to for the calculation of COLA for the Bargaining Units workers.
In 2010, the Industrial Court delivered Judgment for the Junior Staff Bargaining Unit for the 2003 to 2007 period and COLA was applied consistent with the agreed to principle and formula. In 2011, as we attempted to settle negotiations for the Senior Staff Bargaining Unit for the same 2003 to 2007 period, the TSTT
Management attempted to have the COLA formula for the Senior Staff Bargaining Unit reduced through trickery during conciliatory talks at the Ministry of Labour. Subsequent to that, they went to the extreme and unilaterally reduced the COLA payments for the Junior Staff Bargaining Unit, after they had applied the correct formula for over a year after the Court Judgment.
The Union took the matter of the reduction of the COLA for the Junior Staff Bargaining Unit to the Industrial Court and was successful in September 2013 in getting the Court to rule in its favour and COLA was thereafter applied as per the agreed to principle and formula for the Junior Staff Bargaining Unit.
Subsequent to that, parties agreed to commence Bilateral Talks for the resolution of Negotiations for the 2008 to 2010 Collective Agreement period for both the Junior and Senior Staff Bargaining Units, despite the matters being referred to the Industrial Court. These talks commenced in November 2013 and continued up until December 19, 2013. During these talks, on December 17, 2013, parties signed off on a Terms of Settlement for the Senior Staff Bargaining Unit for the application of COLA to be similar to that which was determined for the Junior Staff Bargaining Unit.
In the face of this Agreement, the Company returned to the Bargaining Table on December 19, 2013 and proposed to have the said COLA formula that they recently agreed to apply, drastically reduced. They were adamant that despite the recent agreement, they had instructions to offer a reduced formula for COLA from their superiors and as such, despite valid positions put forward by the Union, the Company’s team led by the EVP HR Mr. Harigobin Jhinkoo maintained that they had no mandate to agree on what exists in the subsisting Collective Agreement. It must be noted that over the years the application of COLA was never an item in dispute.
In the face of our uncontested arguments and the material evidence of the Terms of Settlement and the custom and practice over the years, TSTT has once again resumed their attack on the Economic Principle of COLA by Indexation.
This position now being adopted by the Company’s Management is one of the most heinous Industrial Relations crimes that a party can commit and the company’s approach can only be described as Terrorist Negotiations.
This attack we surmise has the tacit approval of the Board of Directors and by extension, the Line Ministries that TSTT reports to. It is also part of a national battle by Employers to have the principle of COLA by Indexation removed and replaced by Fixed COLA. This is a major contradiction and we will always maintain that as long as the Cost of Living rises, there must be a commensurate change in the Cost of Living Allowance to act as an economic buffer to protect the purchasing power of the workers dollar.
As such, the CWU calls on the Minister of Public Utilities and the Minister of Finance to immediately intervene in this impasse. This battle for COLA by Indexation is a critical battle for the Progressive Trade Union Movement; this principle is considered Sacrosanct and as such, will be defended by every possible resource available to the Union.
We commit to engage in a fierce battle to preserve this principle and we warn the TSTT Management and the Board of Directors that they must be mindful TSTT operates in a fiercely competitive environment and any form of Industrial Instability will not auger well for their competitive advantage.
As such, we implore those in authority to step in before the rot sets in and TSTT is allowed to succumb to the preplanned demise that is the making of some elements within the Company’s Executive Management ably supported by their cohorts on the Board of Directors and within the Government.
The Communication Workers' Union wishes to state emphatically, that it is prepared to battle to the end to ensure that the principle of COLA by Indexation is maintained and that the formula for the calculation and application of COLA is not tampered with by anyone, from The TS`I'I' Management to the Line Ministries; For this, we wish to state that WE DARE TO STRUGGLE!
December 8, 2013
Launch of the Caribbean
Regional Youth Council
History was made at the 3rd Caribbean
Youth Leaders Summit held from December 4-6, 2013, in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
as the first ever executive of the newly constituted Caribbean Regional Youth
Council (CRYC) was elected.
Continuing the work that began at
the previous summits in Barbados (2011) and Jamaica (2012), youth leaders took
concerted steps towards strengthening their national youth organisations and
charting a path towards a regional youth governance mechanism. The revision and
discussion of the progress and outputs of the previous summits culminated in
the creation of the CRYC and the signing and unanimous ratification of its
The final day was reserved for a
Stakeholders’ Forum which saw the inclusion of key stakeholders: CUSO
International, the Commonwealth Youth Programme, and the United Nations
Development Programme. Tangible support was garnered for the work and
sustainability of the CRYC. Youth leaders from the UNDP Youth Think Tank, the
CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Corps and the Commonwealth Youth Council also
participated and lent their voice to the deliberations.
Through a process which was
conducted by officers from the Electoral Department of St Lucia, the 12
Official Caribbean Delegates cast their vote by secret ballot, to elect the
first Executive of the CRYC: Mr. Timothy Ferdinand- Chairperson (St. Lucia
National Youth Council), Ms. Tiffany Daniels - Vice Chairperson for Membership
and Partnerships (Guyana National Youth Council, Interim), Ms. Shanice Webb -
Vice Chairperson for Resource Mobilisation (Trinidad Youth Council), Michael
Xavier- Vice Chairperson for Advocacy and Policy (Guyana National Youth
Council, Interim), Ms. Farmala Jacobs- Board Member for Training and
Development (Antigua National Youth Ambassador Corps) and Ms. Nadege Roach-
Board Member for Communications and Information (National Youth Council of
Words of encouragement were offered
to the newly elected Executive by one of the CRYC’s chief architects and
Programme Manager at the Commonwealth Youth Programme Caribbean Centre, Ms.
Dwynette Eversley. Ms.Eversley urged the new executive to continue justifying
the investment made in them by committing themselves to building a strong
regional youth network which was inclusive, representative and addressed issues
related to all Caribbean youth.
These sentiments were echoed by the
outgoing Chairman of the Interim Steering Committee, Mr. Jason Francis who
reminded the delegates of the critical role they play in improving the quality
of life for youth across the Caribbean. In his first official address,
Chairperson Mr. Timothy Ferdinand expressed his gratitude to all of the youth
delegates and organisations present and pledged to make the necessary
commitments and sacrifices to see the CRYC become a successful pan-Caribbean
Summit would not have been possible without the instrumental support and
continued guidance of the Commonwealth Youth Programme Caribbean Centre.
Tremendous support was also received from the Government of St. Lucia through
its Ministry of Youth Development and Sports and office of the Prime Minister,
particularly for hosting the event. The Saint Lucia National Youth Council must
also be commended for their hard work in ensuring the success of the Summit.
Lastly, for ensuring a transparent and democratic electoral process, the
Electoral Department of St. Lucia must be praised. (see communique)