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posted 19 Jul 2011, 22:30 by Gerry Kangalee

July 18 2011

Dear Union Leaders,


 I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated July 07, 2011 and thank you for informing me of the Unions’ position and your list of demands on the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Despite the tenor of your correspondence and the public pronouncements made by the leadership of your Unions, I do not share the view that there is or should be any collision course between the Labour Movement and Government.

I recognize your right to represent your workers as I ask you to recognize the right of our government to represent the interest of all of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.   Unfortunately, the demands contained in your correspondence were accompanied by threats of union actions which, if pursued, may have dire consequences to both our national security and economic stability.

It has always been my approach to negotiate in an atmosphere of cordiality and encourage an open mindedness so as to allow for a better understanding of the issues before us.

This willingness, however, must not be misconstrued as anything but a desire for achieving a mutuality of understanding and, please be assured that I will do all that I can to protect the interest of our nation. 

As Prime Minister, I strive to make decisions that are always in the best interest of all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, we can agree on one thing, in your own words, that “no effort should be spared to have the country’s productive forces collectively focus on moving the economy forward”.  In this context, as I have always indicated, I am prepared to meet with the Unions’ leadership.

However, this should not be interpreted as part of any negotiations since it would never be my intention to subvert the Collective Bargaining process.  The government has demonstrated its willingness to be flexible and will maintain this stance but the leadership of the Unions should equally acknowledge that as Prime Minister I cannot agree to any pre-conditions for a meeting.

Consequently, I propose that in the spirit of good faith we agree to meet on Tuesday 26th July, 2:30 p.m., at the Office of the Prime Minister, when we can openly share our views in a cordial atmosphere to advance the interests of all concerned.   



Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Gerry Kangalee,
19 Jul 2011, 22:33