Friday, January 30, 2004

Blind Welfare : Protest outside of WhiteHall .,14737.html
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,14143.html

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.”