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posted 10 Mar 2010, 15:51 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 10 Mar 2010, 15:56 ]
The following letter was sent to Senator Michael Annisette, President of the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) by the executive committee of the Banking Insurance and General Workers’ Union ( BIGWU). It is dated March 5th 2010 and is signed by the President of BIGWU, Comrade Vincent Cabrera, who is also the Secretary of NATUC.

“I have been instructed by the executive of the Banking Insurance and General Workers’ Union to write to you to seek your support for the position of the Public Services Association when the bill referred to above comes up for debate in the national senate.

We call on you to do this in keeping with trade union principles of solidarity. If a similar position develops at the Port Authority for example trade unions will be expected to support the Seamen and Waterfront Workers’ Trade Union position on the matter. Similarly, if a situation develops at the First Citizens’ Bank trade unions would be expected to support the Banking Insurance and General Workers’ Union on the matter. There is also international precedence for lending support to the representative workers’ organisation.

Having considered the intentions of the Government in relation to the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) and Customs and Excise Department we have determined that the two major reasons advanced by the government for the establishment of the TTRA is productivity and corruption. We reject these two reasons.

Firstly, while there is always room for improvement of productivity, productivity levels have not been measured within BIR and Customs and Excise. Figures published by the Central Bank indicate that national productivity figures have outstripped the level of wage increases over the last decade. A recent study of twenty (20) Organizations for Economic Co-operation and Development economies over a twenty year period by two Dutch economists found that labour productivity growth was higher in economies having more highly regulated industrial relations systems.

Under the TTRA it would be far easier to fire workers since the due process afforded by the Public Services Commission would be removed. The TTRA will exercise a less regulated industrial relations system.

In terms of corruption, checks and balances should be improved to ensure that corruption does not take place. We are not aware that co-determination exists within the public sector so it is the responsibility of the management to deal with corruption.

Further, if we support the establishment of the TTRA, we will be forced to support the further dismantling of the entire public service. The BIGWU, therefore, is unable to support the establishment of the TTRA and we support the PSA in its struggle in relation to this matter."
Gerry Kangalee,
10 Mar 2010, 15:56