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posted 4 Dec 2013, 11:15 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 4 Dec 2013, 15:52 ]

BIGWU branch official Roxanne Cuffy rallies her troops
The workers of CLICO and British American Insurance Companies picketed the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance on December 2nd and followed this up on December 3rd by picketing the offices of CLICO on St. Vincent Street in Port of Spain.

These workers are victims of the takeover of the companies by the State in 2009 in the wake of the crash of the Duprey empire which threatened to destroy the entire financial structure in the country. The Banking Insurance and General Workers Union, which represents the CLICO workers issued the following statement on the issue

In 2009 CLICO/BA came under the direct control of the state/Central Bank for reasons we are all aware of. 

Since then, workers at CLICO/BA have been exposed to abuse by disgruntled clients for reasons not of their making; despite this abuse workers at CLICO/BA have endured and demonstrated unrewarded commitment in pursuit of restoring and maintaining public confidence and financial stability in CLICO/BA. In fact, the reward of workers at CLICO/BA has been one of loss: loss of uniforms; loss of increases in salaries/allowances; loss of confidence by banks/other lending agencies in granting loans to CLICO/BA employees and so on. 
Over this period too, the Union and workers would have sought and would have secured written guarantee to have workers’ severance payments honoured, given the stated intention to cease the operations of CLICO/BA and bring into being a new corporate entity – ATRIUS as it is now called. 
On May 05, 2013 Minister of Finance, the Honourable Senator Larry Howai, to his then credit, directly addressed and promised workers of CLICO/BA - during a public protest over continued indecision in bringing ATRIUS into being - to expedite all matters related to its formation…including ending the anxiety, frustration and agony being experienced by CLICO/BA workers in not being able to properly plan their lives, given the delays and constant changing of dates for ATRIUS to commence operations. 
Since then, while ATRIUS has been legally constituted, Board of Directors and all, enquiries to CLICO/BA’s management about an operations date for ATRIUS and payment of severance to workers has been met with the explanation that it is in the hands of the Minister/the government. 
CLICO/BA workers have endured; CLICO/BA workers have been punished and pushed around; CLICO/BA workers are resigning, tired and depressed, and going home empty-handed after years of contribution and sacrifice. 
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! Union members; non-members; agents; management – let your voices be heard and presence be felt as we protest and call upon Minister Howai and the government to end this oppressive and unfair state of affairs: