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Labour Minister: At least 846 retrenched

Published: 
Saturday, February 27, 2016

Approximately 846 people—and possibly more—have so far been retrenched from 27 private sector companies since September 7, 2015, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus said yesterday.

Replying in Parliament to opposition questions, Baptiste-Primus said she agreed with Opposition Whip Ganga Singh that the figure could be larger since companies do not have to advise of worker terminations in official notices if the retrenchment applies to fewer than five.

Baptiste-Primus said retrenchment numbers for Centrin workers were not among the list since that retrenchment occurred recently. She added that ArcelorMittal workers were not among the figures since those had been temporarily laid off and not retrenched.

“We’re concerned about retrenchment and don’t want it to become the norm. We the Government are advising employers that one worker losing his/her job is one too many,” Baptiste-Primus said, appealing for efforts to minimise job losses.

She said an exercise to assess how many public sector workers have been retrenched is underway.

On another opposition query, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said government’s plans to prevent international terrorist suspects from returning to T&T include using the anti-terrorist laws, utilising the advance passenger lists to determine United Nations listed terrorists, evaluating border control as well as biometric and facial recognition, and automated finger-printing systems at airports.

He said detection of fraudulent, stolen or forged travel documents will be enhanced. Government is also evaluating threats to T&T and evaluating protocols to manage the return process.

On international terrorist suspects already in T&T, initiatives to strengthen border control are in train including setting up a Joint Border Protection agency, restructuring intelligence agencies, upgrading databases to monitor people and surveillance on security concerns, he added. The police service is also engaged with international partners to develop an international database.

On another opposition question, Works Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said request for payment by contractors is currently being audited to determine legitimacy and once legitimate, payments would be made subject to availability of funds. Hinds also said the route alignment for the final part of the Point Fortin Highway was under review. He said there were no outstanding payments to OAS Construtora. 

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