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PAY MORE ATTENTION TO WORKERS’ PENSIONS

posted 11 May 2014, 21:08 by Gerry Kangalee
Nineteen (19) primary and secondary leaders of seven (7) Trade Unions, affiliated to both NATUC and FITUN, have emphasised the need for more attention to be paid to the question of workers’ pensions by union leaderships. They agreed that unions should be more involved in Pension Plans which their members contribute towards and where their retirement income is invested. 
 
These sentiments were expressed at a two (2) day interactive seminar organized by the
Labour Advisory Bureau, the training, research and media arm of the National Workers Union (NWU). The Seminar titled “From the Workplace to Retirement- Understanding Pensions” was held at the TIWU headquarters in Laventille on the 9th and 10th May 2014. 
 
The participants also expressed strong views on the need to implement more Pension Plans in unionized areas across the country and to train workers representatives on the operations and complexities of Pension management so as to efficiently protect and enhance the retirement benefits of workers. 

Presenters at the Seminar were experienced and veteran trade unionists from several trade unions. These comrades over the years have negotiated and managed Pension Plans in varied industries across the country. 
 
Gerry Kangalee the education and research officer of the NWU spoke on the “Class Approach and Political Questions” of Pension Funds in our society. 

Sylvan Wilson former executive officer (now retired) of the OWTU dealt with the issues of (1) “Building a Pension Plan” (2)“ The “Legislative Issues of Pension Plans” (3) “Pension Funds and Capital Formation in Trinidad and Tobago” and (4) Trust Deed and Rules of Pension Plans”: 

Alva Allen formerly of OWTU, NUGFW and now BIGWU informed participants of (1) “The
current legislations regulating Pension Plans” (2) “The major areas of proposed draft legislation” and (3)“The Types of Pension Plans in Trinidad and Tobago”. 

Cecil Paul former Chief Labour Relations Officer of OWTU and now executive officer of the NWU presented information on (1) “The Parties involved in the operations of a
Pension Plan” and (2) “The Operations and Importance of the Pension Plan Management Committee”. 

Industrial Court Judge Gregory Rousseau lectured participants on “Pensions as a Social Wage Issue and the importance of Pension Funds being invested in areas which benefit its members”. 

Dave Smith, General Secretary of the NWU, formerly of NUGFW, dealt with the critical issue of “A United Trade Union Policy on Pension Plans”. 
 
Participants said that Pensions is a “new” area of Industrial Relations that has been opened up to them and expressed the hope that the Labour Advisory Bureau (LAB) of the National Workers Union (NWU) will broaden their Pension Education Seminars to include more Unions and workers in the country. Some of the participants shared their impressions of the seminar with Comrade Rae Samuel:

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