Last update: 08-Dec-2013 4:18 am
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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JTUM vows to fight privatisation
The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) is planning a massive campaign to stop privatisation of several state companies. At its National Conference of Shop Stewards and Branch Officers (Cossabo) on Saturday at Paramount Building, San Fernando, the JTUM officials expressed grave concern about the Government’s vigorous pursuit of a programme of privatisation. Spokesman for JTUM, Ancel Roget, who is also president general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), reiterated his organisation’s condemnation of privatisation in all its forms. He recalled that following the presentation of the $61.3 billion budget by Finance Minister Larry Howai, the group had warned citizens about the possibility of privatisation.
He quoted statements by Howai that “we will take steps as soon as it is appropriate to make an initial public offer of a newly-established company into which the National Gas Company of T&T will transfer the 39 per cent shareholding in Phoenix Park Gas Processors Company Ltd which it is purchasing from Conoco Phillips.” Roget also referred to Howai’s position that “as soon as the technical work on the restructuring of the Home Mortgage Bank and the T&T Mortgage Finance Company Ltd is completed, we will make an initial public offering for the T&T Mortgage Bank.
“He actually went so far as to identify four companies for privatisation, namely, the Vehicle Maintenance Company (VMCOTT), the National Helicopter Services Ltd (NHSL), the National Flour Mills Ltd (NFM), and the Point Lisas Industrial Port Development (Plipdeco),” Roget said. “It is clear that the People’s Partnership Government, under the leadership of Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, is intent on a comprehensive programme of privatisation. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this latest privatisation drive by this Government.”
Roget warned: “We will be paying close attention to the Public Service, TSTT, Plipdeco, T&TEC, Petrotrin, NP, MTS, PTSC and Exim Bank and other key state enterprises. The JTUM has always insisted that these enterprises be provided with the resources to ensure that they operate at the highest level of efficiency for all of the people of T&T.” He said the JTUM also notes the disrespect shown to labour as there was no mention of settling outstanding negotiations in the budget. “In light of the budget statement, the JTUM has no choice but to embark on a massive campaign against privatisation, which will take on many forms. “The movement believes that the resources of T&T belong to the people of T&T, not the friends and/or financiers of the People’s Partnership. We have fought raging battles to make sure that key sectors such as transportation, telecommunications, energy, major aspects of finance, etc, that all of these sectors be nationalised. “Today, we intend to fight to ensure that these key industries stay in the hands of the people for the benefit of all our citizens.”
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