Where we stand‎ > ‎News & Comment‎ > ‎


posted 21 Mar 2017, 09:55 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 21 Mar 2017, 10:19 ]
The Transport and Industrial Workers Union (TIWU) is in the midst of a massive
TIWU President Roland Sutherland
mobilisation of the approximately 2,000 workers of state-owned National Maintenance Training and Security Company Limited (NMTS).

The aforementioned parties have been negotiating for the period 2011-2014 for Bargaining Units I, II and III.

According to a statement issued by the union: after months of negotiations, on September 20, 2016, the Union and the Company agreed to the wage offer by the Company of 10%, along with significant other cost items, notwithstanding the Union's view that the workers deserved much more.

At this meeting the Company requested of the Union to propose a date in which parties would sign off on the Collective Agreement. As such, the Union proposed the following dates:

1. Signing of the agreed Collective Agreements on September 29, 2016

2. Implementation of the new rate on October 14, 2016 but no later than October 28. 2016

3. Back pay payable on or before November 11, 2016.

The Company agreed to the preparation of the Collective Agreements, in the face of the fact that either party could have prepared same.

On September 29, 2016, the Union contacted the Company re: signing of the Collective Agreement, however by letter dated September 30. 2016, the Company indicated “Further to our meeting held on 2016 September 20th in respect to the above, please be advised that we immediately advised our line Ministry of the Union’s acceptance of the Company's wage proposals. We have been actively following up with them subsequent to their settlement down after having relocated office. We will keep the Union updated as information is received.”

On October 04, 2016, the Union wrote the company seeking clarification on the Employers return to its principal, in light of the fact that the normal process after parties have agreed on all items either party would prepare the new agreement and parties would subsequently sign. In this regard, the Company agreed to the preparation of the new agreement.

On October 07, 2016, the Company indicated "...given that the Union has made proposals for the institution of new rates on October 14, 2016 but no later than October 28, 2016 and payment of back pay on or before November 11th 2016 and that Company requires assistance with funding ... we await direction from our Principals before we can sign committing to timelines for payment... "

In light of this turn of events the Union demonstrated outside the NMTS compound on October 19, 2016. On the same day a delegation of the Union headed by President Roland Sutherland met with the Chief Executive Officer of NMTS, Lennox Rattansingh, and members of management. The Union was now advised that the Company was awaiting a directive from the Chief Personnel Office in regards to funding before signing off on agreed Collective Agreement.

On October 21, 2016, the Union and workers of NMTS demonstrated in front the Office of the Chief Personnel Officer. A delegation of the Central Executive headed by President Sutherland met with Mr. Gary Joseph, Deputy Personnel Officer, where the Union was advised that the Ministerial Committee chaired by the Minister of Finance, supported by the Chief Personnel Officer had not yet met. It was indicated that it’s only when such a meeting takes place that a decision would be taken, signed off by the Ministry of Finance and a directive would be given to the Line Ministry then NMTS.

As such, by letter dated October 24, 2016, the Union requested of the Chief Personnel Officer that it be advised when the next committee meeting would be held and after said meeting how long would instructions reach NMTS. It was noted that this issue is causing significant unease among our members.

To date there has been no positive response from the Company or the Chief Personnel Officer’s office in this regard. The frustration levels are building among the NMTS workers who are still working on 2010 salaries.

The union has decided to go to the worker and seek direction from them as to the path forward in their quest to access equity and justice as the economic and political elites move to force the workers to pay for the capitalist crisis they had no part in triggering.

On Tuesday March 21st, North-based workers will gather at the Union’s headquarters in Laventille. On Wednesday March 22nd, East-based workers will gather at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima from 2:00 pm. On Thursday March 23rd, Central-based workers will gather at the Marabella North Secondary School from 2:00 pm. On Friday March 24th, South-based workers will gather at the NUGFW building on Mon Chagrin Street, San Fernando.

It is clear that the leadership of TIWU is not sitting and hoping that the assault on the living standards of working people will go away, but are actively engaging its members in fighting to secure their interests.