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posted 26 Aug 2019, 20:53 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 26 Aug 2019, 20:59 ]
Unease is growing among workers of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) at the stalling tactics being employed by the State in its failure to begin negotiations for a collective agreement covering the period 2015-2017; even though this negotiation is for an expired period.

Workers, members of the hourly rated fortnightly paid bargaining unit of the Transport and Industrial Workers Union (TIWU), are saying that it is already more than halfway through the negotiation period 2018-2020 and they are still receiving 2014 wages.

On March 24th 2017 the union submitted proposals to the corporation and suggested that the negotiations begin on April 12th 2017. The company did not find the date suggested convenient.

On April 4th 2017 the union wrote the Ministry of Labour seeking an extension of time for what in the legal language of the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) is deemed a breakdown in negotiations for a negotiation that had not yet begun. Who said the law is an ass? This was done to avoid violating the timelines set out in the law.

Nine months later the Ministry replied, acceding to the request for the extension which was granted up to July 9th 2018. On May 10th 2018, more than one year after the request for a meeting to begin negotiations was made, PTSC agreed to meet. The meeting took place at the Cascadia Hotel. At that meeting the Corporation told the union that approval needed to be sought from the Chief Personnel Office (CPO) for the recommencement of negotiations.

To keep within the parameters of the law the union on July 23rd 2018, once again had to seek an extension. The Ministry granted the request in September 2018. Negotiations still have not yet begun.

In August 2019 the corporation advised the union that it is yet to receive formal instructions as it relates to the resumption of negotiations and that, worse, its request for formal instructions from the CPO as it relates to the proposals submitted by the union has not yet been answered.

Now, if this is not a run around on the part of the institutions of state, then nothing is. The management of the corporation, the Chief Personnel Office and the Cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago which controls the CPO and the PTSC have shown absolute disrespect and contempt for the workers of PTSC and seems determined to make the workers pay for the crisis that has engulfed the capitalist world.

As long as workers in the state and private sector remain disunited in the face of the sustained attacks on their job security and standard of living by the state and the employers, so long will workers continue to be retrenched, suffer pay cuts, wage freezes and loss of benefits. A word to the wise!