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posted 9 Sept 2013, 14:56 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 9 Sept 2013, 15:00 ]

On Saturday 7th September 2013, the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) held its third Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) to deal with the government’s ongoing privatisation campaign.

The first was held on March 2nd 2013 at Cipriani Labour College and the second at Communication Workers Union Hall on March 23rd. At the COSSABO of March 23rd a resolution was adopted which sketched a road map for a campaign to be launched by the JTUM to disrupt and derail the government’s privatisation programme.

At the COSSABO of September 7th a number of papers were presented dealing with different aspects of privatisation. As those papers are made available they will be published on this website.

The JTUM issued the following statement at the end of the COSSABO: 

7 September, 2013


The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) on Saturday 7 September, 2013 held a National Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) on the critical issue of Privatization and its implication for workers and the country at OWTU Paramount Building, San Fernando. Over 300 Branch Branch Officers, Shop Stewards and Activists from various Trade Unions participated in this national COSSABO. The JTUM condemns Privatization in all its forms. We will not accept the further divestment of any State Enterprise. JTUM recognizes privatization as a means of transferring wealth and ownership from the public sector to private and individual interest.

JTUM is against many of the various measures of privatization such as Commercialization, Public Private Partnership, direct selling of Assets, Deregulation, Divestment, Contracting out of jobs, management contracts, Joint Ventures and engaging in Strategic Partnerships. We recognize that Contract Labour is a creature of privatization and has already impacted adversely on the job security of thousands of workers. In fact is it is another form of exploitation of the workers by reducing their benefits and even losing their jobs.

JTUM is of the belief that control over the policy and direction of the state enterprises must remain in the hands of the people. These State Enterprises do not belong to the UNC, the Partnership, Minister Larry Howai or even the Prime Minister Mrs. Kamla Persad Bissessar for them to sell off to their friends, family and financiers. Every Citizen has a stake in the State Enterprises.

The JTUM insists that these enterprises be provided with the resources to ensure that they operate at the highest level of efficiency for all of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

JTUM also recognizes the threat of Privatization of the Public Service, TSTT, Plipdeco, T&TEC, Petrotrin, NP, MTS, Finance Sector institutions such as TTMF, Exim Bank and First Citizens’ Bank. The JTUM will mount a formidable response against any attempt to further privatize any state enterprise.

JTUM is also seeking to have the nationalisaton of specific strategic industries which have been already handed over to the private sector. JTUM condemns the extremely anti-worker attitude of Acelor Mittal, a company which has been handed a prize national asset.

The JTUM position is not just ideological but the evidence has shown throughout the world that privatization has led not only to the drop in service of the enterprises but a decline in the social and economic fortunes of the citizens where these programmes have been implemented. This is true for countries of the North and South.

The public-private partnership arrangement is nothing new and also is not supported by JTUM. The JTUM call on the government and the Minister of Finance to back away from any further introduction of any form of privatization in this year’s national budget. 

Ancel Roget