Sunday, March 28, 2010
By Richardson Dhalai Sunday, March 28 2010
On the eve of his senatorial debut, temporary Opposition Senator Christopher Joefield, vice-president of the Public Services Association (PSA) made an impassioned appeal for the public to assemble outside the Parliament in a show of solidarity as he leads the Opposition’s response to the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority (TTRA).
Speaking at the “Voice of the People” rally at Saith Park, Chaguanas, Joefield also affirmed the union’s support for the rally which was organised by the Leader of the Opposition’s office saying the union was fully supportive of the efforts to unify the population on national issues.
“We believe this effort will go a long way in changing the quality of life and service delivery to the citizens of this country and the PSA supports the efforts that we see here today,” he said.
However, in a precursor of his address in the Senate, Joefield accused the Government, which he described as “the employer”, of attempting top destroy the labour movement and privatise the Public Service.
“There are dedicated officers who continue to work diligently while suffering in silence while the employer is starving the Public Service of resources, both human and infrastructure, and is using contract employment and making public servants insecure,” Joefield said.
“Vacancies are not filled, the system is being abused, workers are becoming demoralised and the wider effect is that of weakening of the trade union movement and we are calling on the government to stop privatising the Public Service,” he added.
‘We are saying that the government must empower the Service Commissions so they can train public officers and we call for better relations between the employer and the union,” he added.
“On March 29th we are asking for your support to turn back this draconian Bill and throw it in the dustbin,” Joefield added.
Meanwhile, fellow labour leader, All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union, (ATGWTU), Rudy Indarsingh, also added his voice to the call for a national show of support for the PSA’s struggle for the BIR and Customs and Excise workers saying, “come Monday, we must assemble outside the Parliament and show our support for the PSA.” “We must ensure a decent work agenda for Trinidad and Tobago which is signatory. Over the last ten years, this government has only brought one piece of legislation; where are the amendments to the Industrial Relations Act, where are the amendments to the Retrenchment and Benefits Act,” he added.
Indarsingh also reiterated that Government had failed to provide an acceptable explanation to the closure of the Usine Ste Madeleine refinery saying the company had realised a profit in its operations over the past few years.
‘They continue to attack the workers and have recently announced the decision to close the sugar factory and there has not been a single explanation as to why they would want to close a profitable company,” he added.