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No erosion of workers’ rights under PNM
Public Administration Minister Maxie Cuffie is telling the labour movement that the “rights of workers won over the years will not be callously eroded” by the government of which he is a part and while his Labour Day statement is silent on job losses in the public service, he is boasting of workers gains under the current administration with “superior accommodation,” and “modern technology.”
In a message to the labour movement as it celebrates its 80th anniversary of the labour riots, Cuffie assured “The government of Tobago remains as committed as the Opposition of 2010-2015 to working closely with the trade union movement to ensure that the rights of workers and their representatives are always respected and that the gains won over the years will not be callously eroded.”
Cuffie’s Labour Day statement made no mention of job losses experienced in the past year. Only in May this year he announced that Government Information Services (GISL) will be closed down, and workers will be sent home.
He said: “As part of our own mandate at the Ministry of Public Administration and Communications, we have sought to ensure that public officers are provided with the most modern accommodation possible through the long-awaited opening of the Government Plaza.
When fully occupied, these buildings, together with the new Ministry of Education Tower on St. Vincent Street and the occupation of One Alexandra Place in Woodbrook would have seen more than 4,000 employees benefit from superior accommodation.
Cuffie said: “Our recent signing with Microsoft for a new Enterprise Agreement was also designed to ensure that not only are public officers provided with the best accommodation, but they are also equipped with the most modern tools and technology with which to perform their functions.”
As he lauded labour, Cuffie said: “While all celebrations of this event are important, on this, the 80th anniversary of the labour riots of 1937 which gave birth to the movement, there is even greater need for pause and reflection on the tremendous contribution made by the Trade Union movement on behalf of their members over the last ten decades. “
He said there had been several iconic figures in the local trade union movement over the span of 80 years “all of whom have contributed to its development in their own inimitable way.”
Along with Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler, Adrian Cola Rienzi and Captain Arthur Andrew Cipriani, Cuffie said there were other personalities though, like George Weekes, Basdeo Panday, Clotil Walcott, Selwyn John among others, who “have also made sterling contributions to the growth and development of the movement, and their memories must be similarly preserved. “
Today, he said the trade union movement remains a strong and vibrant contributor to the national dialogue, and its members can be found across all strata of society, continuing the rich tradition of service to the national community.
The Ministry of Public Administration and Communication congratulated all involved in Monday’s 80th anniversary celebrations, and wished them God’s abundant blessings.