Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Sugar union blames Govt for ex-Caroni worker’s murder


The All-Trinidad Sugar and General Workers’ Trade Union says Government must take responsibility for the brutal murder of unionist Baldath Balgobin.

Rudranath Indarsingh, president general of the ATSGWTU, called on Commissioner of Police Trevor Paul, yesterday, to spare no efforts in hunting down and bringing to justice Balgobin’s killer, or killers.

The body of Balgobin, 51, was found bound in the trunk of his taxi behind Presentation College in Chaguanas, on Saturday morning.

Indarsingh said the Felicity father of three was a man of tremendous commitment and humility.

He added that the union felt Balgobin met his death because of the failure of Government and Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Christine Sahadeo, to honour its commitments to former Caroni (1975) Ltd employees in a timely manner.

“Therefore, the union is of the opinion that the blood of Mr Balgobin is on the hands of the Government and Minister Sahadeo,” Indarsingh asserted.

He said Balgobin turned to plying his car for hire to look after the welfare of his family, after he was retrenched from his job at Caroni because of Government’s restructuring policy.

“If Government had distributed the agricultural plots of land to the ex-employees, Mr Balgobin would have been generating revenue for the well-being of his family by being involved in an agricultural enterprise,” Indarsingh argued.

He said Balgobin was denied further income because the Government had not considered the union’s proposal for lowering the entitlement age for receiving a pension from the daily-paid contributory pension plan.

With the crime rate escalating, he said he feared many more ex-sugar workers’ families may suffer the same fate as Balgobin. YW

Friday, May 28, 2004

Blind workers sign historic collective agreement

Trinidad Guardian
Business Section
Friday 28th May, 2004

A historic new collective agreement for blind and visually-impaired people was signed between the T&T Blind Welfare Association and the All Trinidad Sugar & General Workers Trade Union (ATSGWTU)...

(research team must acquire article )

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Keep up the struggle, sugar workers told

By Adrian Boodan


Protesting employees at the Usine St Madeleine Sugar Factory operated by the Sugar Manufacturing Company Ltd have been told “not to give up the struggle” by Rudy Indarsingh, president of the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers Trade Union.

Indarsingh said yesterday that he had called on the workers to ensure decent conditions and standards are met, “not only at the SMCL, but everywhere, and not to give up the struggle.”

Workers at the USM’s milling operations downed tools last Thursday and walked off the job. The action closed the operation of the factory and is said to be costing the SMCL $1.75 million in lost revenue daily.

Indarsingh said in an interview yesterday that workers of the SMCL have been approaching the ATSGWTU on an individual basis seeking advice. He said the workers at the sugar factory said they got none of the benefits which they enjoyed while employed with the former Caroni 1975 Ltd.

He said cane cutters and other labourers employed on the field by contractors were also coming to the ATSGWTU saying they were being threatened with dismissal if they joined any representative body.

Indarsingh said if approached, the ATSGWTU will have no problems in representing the workers who had embarked on industrial action. When asked if the ATSGWTU was behind the current action at USM, Indarsingh said:

“There are other places where the workers are protesting. Are any of the unions behind them? When people are pushed, they will react. Food prices are escalating, and workers are forced to undergo conditions similar to slavery and indentureship.”

Indarsingh reminded that the right to award successorship for representation was bluntly refused to the ATSGWTU during the negotiations when the State moved to close the operations of Caroni 1975 Ltd and open SMCL.

He said, too, the 2004 crop was doomed to failure because the state brought in the same people who ran Caroni to manage the SMCL. “They have brought nothing new and they have nothing new to add,” he said.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Blind Welfare : Protest outside of WhiteHall .

Also protesting outside Whitehall yesterday was a group of workers from the Blind Welfare Association. All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers Trade Union (ATSGWTU) first vice-president Sylvester Maharaj said the workers had been trying to get a collective agreement signed for the last three years.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Visually-impaired protest second class treatment


Tempers flared yesterday as the members of the Blind Welfare Association of Trinidad and Tobago staged a protest outside their Edward Street headquarters.

They are claiming that, in the past, nothing has been done to improve the quality of life for the visually impaired. “The association seems to be on the decline. It is no longer run by a counsel but by one man,” said Cyril Scott, branch president. “Most blind people depend on the welfare for employment and some sort of livelihood,” he said. He added that the workers were discouraged since negotiations covering the period 2001-2003  with All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers Trade Union (which represents the workers)  were not settled. As a result of this, he said, the workers were “suffering.”

“These workers are currently receiving under the minimum wage,” said Rudranath Indarsingh, president general of the trade union. “It seems like the visually impaired do not have rights. They do not get sick leave nor pension like other citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.” Beverly Ann Fitzallen said that staff at the association were waiting for land to construct a building since the current building was “deplorable.”  “We applied for the land and for housing but because we are so insignificant, nobody has responded to us. Nobody is willing to consider our concerns,” she added. Indarsingh threatened that if things are not settled immediately, the association will have to “take a different turn.”