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Roget: Need to address ‘turmoil’ in labour sector

Published: 
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The $1,000 special allowance granted to the protective services in the 2011-2012 budget will do nothing to bolster the morale of demotivated officers, says president general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget. Speaking at a post-budget forum at the union’s Paramount headquarters in San Fernando yesterday, Roget expressed disappointment that “Government had done nothing to appease the volatile industrial relations climate. “It is clear to say that the Minister of Finance predicated this budget on a number of assumptions such as increased productivity, economic transformation, broad national support and increased foreign direct investment,” he said.

“But nothing was said about the current industrial relations crisis in the country. “The Finance Minister went on the assume that by giving a big chunk of the budget to the protective services and giving the rest of the protective services the $1,000 allowance which they should have done in the first place, that their crime-fighting initiatives will be bolstered.” Expressing doubt that the “allowance will immediately transform the minds and the morale of those in the protective services,” Roget said the Government’s $4 billion crime-fighting plan couldn’t work unless salary negotiations were addressed.

“Nothing was said in the budget about the demoralised and demotivated police force, whose responsibility in a state of emergency is to maintain law and order,” he said. “Nothing was said about the police outstanding negotiations.” Roget also said he did not believe the projected growth rate predicted by Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran. “Last year, Mr Dookeran promised to grow the economy by 1.7 to two per cent...The reality is we had a decline of 1.4 per cent,” he said. “This year again he is promising a 1.7 growth in the GDP but we are not certain that in the next 12 months we will record any type of growth in the economy.”

Roget added that out of $47.7 billion in revenue Dookeran expects to collect, some $18.1 billion comes from the energy sector. “Yet nothing was said about industrial relations crisis in that sector,” he said. “Therefore, a big chunk of his revenue is coming from a sector that is in turmoil and crisis with all outstanding wage negotiations. “If we strip off the goodies and look squarely in the face of reality, we will see that this is another deceptive move.” He added that investor confidence, increased productivity and foreign investment cannot be attained if the industrial climate is volatile.

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