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Social Development working on plan for the retrenched

Sunday, March 27, 2016
Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn

Valdeen Shears-Neptune

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services is in the process of developing of a multi-sectoral plan to assist this country’s retrenched workers.

This, according to line minister, Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn, who is also MP for Lopinot/Bon Air West.

“The ministry is in the process of developing a mitigation plan to identify strategies to assist persons affected by and through the number of unemployment action taking place across the country. 

“Our plan is to have things in place within one month’s time, as we are fully aware of how families are being affected,” said Crichlow-Cockburn.

She spoke to the Sunday Guardian during a fun family day in Five Rivers, Arouca.

She said the approach would be multi-sectoral and would include consultations with not only other ministries, but stakeholders such as non-governmental, faith and community-based organisations.

Additionally, she said, the ministry will make available its other services to affected workers, such as the Sowing Empowerment through Entrepreneurial Development (Seed) programme. 

These grants offer start-up capital for people with ideas for small businesses or wishing to restart or enhance an already existing small business, based on set criteria. 

As for the ministry’s social services, the minister noted that while there are strict qualifying criteria, retrenched workers are being invited to access assistance. She assured that their assessment and processing would be timely.

Steel company ArcelorMittal announced closure of its Point Lisas branch and sent home over 600-plus workers, while Brazilian-based construction company, OAS Constructora, sent termination letters to 800-plus of its employees.

In January, more than 200 workers were retrenched by the Central Trinidad Steel Ltd (Centrin). 

Recently, the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) also sent home 31 workers, who the authority said were “hired for short-term projects.”