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Duke threatens shutdown on January 4
Mere days before Christmas, Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke is declaring an intensified war on the Government early in the new year. He said he had asked public servants to stop working on January 4 and he was calling for a shutdown of the country on that day. He said he has asked public servants to work half-day from now till then.
Duke said he also was expecting the support of the Maxi Taxi and Taxi Drivers Associations, as well as the Public Transport Service Corporation’s bus drivers on January 4. He added: “I expect the country to come to a halt that day. Government must understand there can be no peace until public servants get a piece of the national pie.” He said if the 33,000 public servants did not get a salary increase there would be no investment in the country and the economy would stagnate and decay.
Duke vowed: “Whatever price we have to pay, in life or death or prison, we will continue to represent our members to the best of our interest. “We are taking this to a new level next year. There will be casualities. It will be force against force, blows against blows.” Duke said the BBC would be present at the rally which would be held on the Brian Lara Promenade in front of the Twin Towers.
“This will not be resolved until it becomes an international issue,” he said. Duke made the announcement at a media conference at PSA headquarters, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. He said he had written to all trade union leaders asking them to support the January 4 national shutdown. He is also giving an ultimatum to trade union leaders whom he said were “playing politics”.
“If any trade union leader comes alone (without the support of his members) he will be ostracised and if he doesn’t come he will be ostracised. “If you are a trade union leader, stay with trade union business.”
His announcement came after the PSA’s 12th meeting with the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) yesterday over negotiations for a salary increase for public servants.
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