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TIWU Frowns on Chamber's Move

posted 2 Jul 2010, 19:01 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 3 Jul 2010, 03:00 by National Workers Union ]
25 June 2010

Recent moves by the T&T Chamber of Commerce suggest that the private sector is poised to take advantage of the maintenance possibilities arising out of the past government’s construction of “tall buildings” on the waterfront and other areas in Port of Spain.

Angella Persad, President of the Chamber, told the Second Annual Caribbean Facilities Management and Maintenance Conference held at the Hyatt Hotel on June 21st: “This is an excellent opportunity for public private sector collaboration, where the private sector can work with the Government to manage and maintain these Government buildings properly to give us the number of years of efficient and cost effective service that they were meant to do,”

Ms. Persad speaks of public private sector collaboration, but the Transport and Industrial Workers’ Union (TIWU) wishes to remind all concerned that the National Maintenance, Training and Security Company (MTS) was set up for that very purpose.

In 1979 MTS was born, as a state owned company (fully owned by the people. of Trinidad and Tobago). Over time, MTS became responsible for the maintenance of over 78 schools and public institutions, including the Financial Complex, National Stadium, Jean Pierre Complex and the Hall of Justice.

Outside of this, MTS had also been involved in doing maintenance work for the Carnival Development Committee (CDC). Airport Authority, Central Bank. Ministry of Education, Tobago House of Assembly as well as agricultural projects and landscaping for the Ministry of Health, King George V Park, National Gas Company and technical maintenance jobs for such institutions as C.A.S.T. in Signal Hill and Roxborough in Tobago.

MTS has proved itself to be an efficient and effective organisation. It developed as a specialist company and provided expert and efficient maintenance skills in such varied areas as: Janitorial Maintenance, Grounds Maintenance, Masonry, Water and Sewerage Systems, Electrical/Electronic and Machine Systems, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Systems and Equipment, Welding, Termite Treatment, Piano Repairs, Lathes, Milling Machines, Business Machines, Household Appliances, Vehicle Maintenance, Metal Working Machines, Garment Machines, Hydraulic Equipment, Radial Arm Drills etc.

New skill sets that may be necessary to engage in the maintenance of these new buildings can easily be assimilated by MTS workers who are employees of a thirty year old company which has developed a body of knowledge which is unrivalled in the industry.

TIWU is very concerned that the Chamber’s new-found interest in the area of building maintenance and facilities management may foreshadow the entry into the field of European companies which may enter into joint ventures with members of the Chamber to the detriment of MTS.

Provisions of the European Partnership Agreement (EPA) may put pressure on the state to withdraw from the provision of environmental and other such services and give foreign capitalists free rein to establish dominance over new areas of our economy with the support of local companies who are attuned more to the quick buck than to national economic development.

TIWU will strenuously oppose any move in that direction and will bring all resources to bear in our struggle to protect, defend and advance the jobs and standard of living of our members.
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