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posted 5 Aug 2013, 23:51 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 5 Aug 2013, 23:52 ]


The National Workers Union (NWU) notes with disgust the shameless lobbying by some parliamentarians for an increase in their salaries.

At a time when the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago are fast losing respect for and confidence in politicians; at a time when organised workers have had to wage titanic struggles to gain a living wage in the face of government’s attempt to impose a wage cap, parasitic politicians are quite willing to shove their snouts deeper into the trough of public funds.

Backbenchers in parliament get a monthly salary of $14,000 per month in addition to a transport allowance of approximately $4,100. The prime minister gets a salary of $48,000, $7,500 duty allowance and $5,550 transport allowance. She also gets a travel grant of $36,000, and a maximum motor vehicle loan for $350,000 at six percent interest and a motor repair loan of $20,000 at six percent.

A minister gets a $33,000 salary (Cabinet) or $27,000 (non-Cabinet) plus subsistence of $1,600 and $10,300 housing allowance. The Opposition Leader gets a $33,000 salary, $4,900 transport allowance, $1,200 subsistence and $10,300 housing allowance.

According to Working Paper 11/2013, published by the Central Bank in February 2013 authored by Mahabir et al entitled Understanding Wages in a Small Open Economy: the case of Trinidad and Tobago: “…those persons who are Legislators, Senior Officials and Managers…earn significantly higher wages than most other categories of workers, with the exception of persons designated as professionals. For example persons in the agricultural sector earn 84.2 per cent less than Legislators, Senior Officials and Managers.”

Most members of parliament are employed otherwise and do not depend on that source of income to make a living yet these parliamentarians still want to get their hands deeper into the public till.

According to figures emanating from the National Insurance Board (NIB), in Trinidad and Tobago there are approximately 102,700 workers or18% of the labour force at the minimum wage level. There are approximately 278,000 workers or 48% of the labour force who are paid less than a government daily paid labourer, who is among the lowest paid in the unionised public sector. 70% of the labour force or approximately 413,000 workers are paid less than a WASA labourer.
More than 80% of those on the books of the NIB or approximately 460,000 workers earn less than $8,300 per month.

The National Workers Union (NWU) calls on the working people of Trinidad and Tobago to take note that in a country where the top earning 10% of the population gets more than 14 times the income the bottom earning 10% gets, those who pretend to represent the interests of the people in the parliament seem to be more concerned in accruing public funds than in serving the people.



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Gerry Kangalee (National Education and Research Officer – Cell: 785-7637)