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Trade unions to meet on Govt’s policies
The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) is organising an all-union Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) on March 2 at 1:30 pm at the CLR James Auditorium of the Cipriani Labour College, Valsayn, to deal with the government’s stated policy of privatisation.
The session, which is open to all trade union shop stewards, branch officers and activists will discuss the challenges facing the labour movement over the last two years as a result of a government-imposed wage cap and stated policy position of divestment/privatisation.
In 2011, during his Budget presentation, then Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran, announced plans to merge the Home Mortgage Bank and the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company to create a new institution called Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Bank for which an Initial Public Offer (IPO) would be issued. he also announced that the Government wouldf issue an initial public offering of shares in First Citizens, the state-owned bank to “ssist the Bank in widening its capital base and so facilitate its expansion programme in which the Bank is currently engaged.”
The government has also stated that it intends to divest Plipdeco and is considering divesting MTS and outsourcing the sanitation functions of the municipal authorities.
One trade union, the National Workers Union (NWU) has been very vocal in its condemnation of government’s privatisation plans, describing it as “a policy directive hatched in the Article IV consultations with the IMF and guided by the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank.”
“It is part and parcel of the neo-liberal policy designed to weaken the power of the working class in favour of strengthening the capitalists,” the union warned. “Privatisation places the provision of public goods into private hands; increases the gap in income between capitalists and workers; uses public funds to subsidise the wealthy and increases foreign domination of the economy.
“It leads to widespread retrenchment; increases in the costs of services; the entrenching of obscene working conditions; the weakening of the bargaining power of organised workers and the wholesale transfer of income from the pockets of working people to the purses of the capitalists.”
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