Tuesday, July 23, 2002


Press Release : July 23rd 2002

President General of the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers Trade Union (ATS&GWTU) Rudranath Indarsingh has said Government's proposed VSEP offer by month's end for Caroni workers is false and totally misleading.

Dismissing statements made by the Minister of Agriculture John Rahael in a Sunday Express article (July 21) "In the Hot Seat" - Indarsingh told sugar workers not to be unduly alarmed by the Minister's remarks.

"No VSEP package can be agreed upon for Caroni workers without consultation with the majority bargaining body for workers," Indarsingh said.

Pointing out that the Minister seemed unaware of the rudiments of the negotiating process, Indarsingh said Mr. Rahael needed "a lesson in proper industrial procedures."

The union leader's comments came, in response to a weekend newspaper article on the government's VSEP plan for Caroni, on his first day back on the job, following a brief illness.

"To say that Cabinet will decide by month's end on the VSEP package for Caroni workers was not only evidence of autocratic behaviour on the part of government but a very worrisome development in the context of healthy Industrial Relations practices," he said.

The union leader was also critical of several inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the newspaper article.

He pointed out that in one breadth the Minister admits to not having done a "head count" to ascertain the true employment needs of the company then goes on to say that "I am confident we will get the required number."

Indarsingh said the Minister had no authority to make such a statement without a manpower audit and analysis of the intricacies of the company's operations.

Contrary to claims made by the Minister, Indarsingh said the records will show that he (Indarsingh) became a member of the Caroni Board in mid 1999 and as far as he was aware none of the five Ministers (from the previous administration) had at anytime pressured Caroni to back off from implementing a VSEP package.

Thursday, July 4, 2002


Press Release : July 14th 2002

The General Council of the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers Trade Union has unanimously rejected the Government's Report on the Future Direction of Caroni (1975) Ltd. At its monthly statutory meeting dated July 3rd 2002 at the Union's headquarters President General Bro. Rudranath Indarsingh tabled the Report for discussion.

Following the address, a Motion was moved to the following effect:

Whereas the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers Trade Union is recognized as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for the hourly, daily, piece and task rated employees at Caroni (1975) Ltd. as stated in Article Five of its Registered Memorandum of Agreement

And Whereas the Government of Trinidad and Tobago had established a Committee to advance a Report on the Restructuring of Caroni (1975) Ltd.

And Whereas that Committee had no representative of the ATS&GWTU or any other Labour Organisation

And Whereas the Advisory Body of Kairi Consultants Ltd. did not make any or any reasonable efforts to secure the input of the ATS&GWTU in the preparation of the Report

And Whereas the Report was delivered to the ATS&GWTU after excessive and undue delay

And Whereas the said Report was tabled for discussion by the President General Of the ATS&GWTU on the 3rd day of July 2002 at the statutory meeting of the Union's General Council

And Whereas it became evident that the Report proposes inter alia involuntary separation for workers in 2003 and a total shut down of Caroni's operation by 2005

And Whereas the Report lacks specifics, is actuarially inconsistent and is generally intellectually unsound

Be it Resolved that the General Council reject the Report in its totality

Be it Further Resolved that the ATS&GWTU call for renewed dialogue and consultation with the Government to discuss the future of Caroni(1975) Ltd.

And be it Further Resolved that the Union embark immediately on a series of public meetings to sensitize the nation on the Government's attack on the basic and fundamental human rights of the Sugar Worker.

The Motion was moved by Bro. Ramsook Singh, Branch President of the Williamsville Section, seconded by Bro. Harnarine Toolsie Branch President of the Picton/ Monkey Town Section and unanimously approved by all members present.

The Branches that were represented and who voted in support of the motion were;

  • K.C. Confectionery,
  • USM Refinery,
  • Blind Welfare Association,
  • Charles Candy,
  • La Gloria,
  • La Fortune/Hermitage,
  • Picton/Monkey Town,
  • CFD South, Cedar Hill,
  • Bronte, Petite Morne,
  • USM (FED, Factory, Traffic),
  • Reform, Auto Rentals (North & South),
  • National Agro, Mora Valley,
  • Sunshine Snacks,
  • Picton Beef Herd,
  • Agri Services (North & South),
  • Caroni Distillery,
  • Shipping Terminal,
  • Forres Park Seereeram Bros.,
  • Mon Jaloux Farm,
  • Sugar Cane Feed Centre,
  • Caroni Rice Project,
  • Tricon, Williamsville,
  • CFD North,
  • Phoenix Park,
  • Esperanza,
  • Montserrat,
  • BC Factory,
  • BC Traffic,
  • BC FED,
  • Exchange,
  • Waterloo,
  • Edinburgh,
  • Felicity,
  • Caroni Research Station,
  • W/ Lodge FED Todds Raod TC ,
  • J/ Junction and Caroni.

The Union also calls upon the leadership of other Unions in the Sugar Industry, particularly TICFA to account for its support for the proposal despite the fact that there was no consultation and dialogue. The Union has formed the opinion that some Union leaders have not been totally honest with their membership about the realistic outcome of the proposal, which envisages a total shutdown of the Industry and a total closure of the cane farming sector by the wet season of 2005. We call upon these leaders to "come clean" with their membership.

The Union will commence its series of mass public meetings on Tuesday July 9th at the Rienzi Complex at 4 pm. On Thursday 11th July the Union moves to the Usine St. Madeline Sports Club at 4 pm. These meetings will be addressed by the President General, Union Officers and a host of special guest speakers.