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posted 9 Mar 2017, 18:23 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 9 Mar 2017, 18:27 ]
On March 9th, the Communication Workers Union issued the following statement signed by General Secretary, Joseph Remy.

Image result for trinidad communication workers unionThe Communication Workers’ Union condemns in the strongest and most vociferous manner the
Joseph Remy, President, Communication Workers Union
recent cabinet decision announced by the Minister of Tourism, Ms. Shamfa Cudjoe, to dissolve the Tourism Development Company, TDC.

Like a thief in the night, the Minister of Tourism, hiding under the comfort and opulence of the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort, Lowlands Tobago, announced on Thursday 9"" March, 2017, that the Cabinet has taken the decision to dissolve the TDC and replace it with two (2) separate entities, with one focussing on Trinidad and one focussing on Tobago.

In a very disrespectful manner, the Tourism Minister has placed the jobs and the lives of over one hundred and twenty (120) workers in disarray, in addition she has now effectively destabilised over one hundred families. This decision was made without any consultation with the CWU, which is the Recognized Majority Union for two (2) Bargaining Units at the TDC.

Consistent with her statement made in Parliament early on in her term of ofhce, the Tourism Minister has attempted to demonstrate that "they are in charge now" and has disregarded all basic principles of Industrial Relations and good and proper governance and employment practices.

This action comes months after the CWU submitted proposals for a new Collective Agreement for the Bargaining Unit Workers at the TDC while the Government was procrastinating in commencing negotiations for a new Collective Agreement for these workers. We can only deduce from this action that the Government wants to prevent the CWU from making representation for and on behalf of these workers, in essence, this self professed pro-worker PNM Government is engaging in anti- worker, anti-union tactics.

Is it that the CWU is now targeted for not signing the MOU with the PNM prior to the last Election? 

If that is so, then we cry shame on this PNM Government for another attempt at Union Busting!
This action demonstrates in a most brazen manner, the worst form of Governance. Imagine workers having to hear about the dissolution of the Company that they work for, through a press statement and on messages on Social Media. Is it that the CWU is now targeted for not signing the MOU with the PNM prior to the last Election? If that is so, then we cry shame on this PNM Government for another attempt at Union Busting!

We also question the timing of this statement, which we believe is coming on the heels of an investigation that is now being conducted into the award of a Contract by the TDC early on in 2016 during the tenure of the current Government. A lot of questions have been left unanswered about this contract which was awarded to a purported PNM Financier for the clearing and de-silting of Drains along the Maracas Bay Car Park.

Based on information gleaned so far, we have been advised that some startling revelations have been made and as such, there is now this haste to close down the TDC before that information reaches the public domain. We at the CWU has signalled our strong support for Lady Gypsy and her 2017 Calypso and have taken a cue from her and wish to and advise the PNM Government that the CWU would Ring the Bell for Justice, we would Ring the Bell for Job Security for the TDC workers and we would ring the Bell for the right of Trade Union Representation for the workers at the TDC.

The CWU is demanding that the Government lays its hands of the Jobs of those TDC workers, who are not responsible for the poor management and misspending of Funds that the Minister is alluding to. Thereafter, the Minister must immediately engage the Union in discussions about the current status of the Bargaining Unit Workers at the TDC.

We thought that this Government would have learnt a lesson from what happened with the Peoples Partnership Government, so we wish to remind them that the PP Government was warned about adopting anti-worker and anti-union strategies and tactics and was advised that they would pay the ultimate Political Price. It seems that less than two (2) years into their term of office, they feel that they could take people for granted, but by their uncaring actions, they have signalled that they want to suffer the same consequences as the PP Government.

Well the CWU wishes to warn them that we, together with the TDC Workers are prepared to engage in an intense struggle to protect the Jobs of all members of our Bargaining Unit and by extension protect the livelihood of their families. lf they don‘t take heed, then we can assure them that they too would pay the ultimate political price.

For that we dare to struggle.

A word to the wise is sufficient