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McLeod on wage talks: T&TEC board was always slow
Minister of Labour, Small and Micro Enterprise Development Errol McLeod says the board of management of the T&T Electricity Commission (T&TEC) has had a history of being “very slow” and “slothful” in the manner in which it dealt with trade union negotiations. He was speaking with reporters yesterday at a national forum on “Exploring Solutions to Employment Issues in the Current Global Environment” at the Hyatt Regency, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain. Earlier this month, T&TEC workers, led by Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) president Ancel Roget, staged a protest around T&TEC’s Cipero Street office, San Fernando, over their disapproval of the zero per cent offer currently on the negotiating table. Pressed by reporters to comment on the apparent standstill in negotiations despite having 12 meetings with T&TEC’s management, McLeod said in his years as president of the OWTU, he had to deal with a culture which he hoped would change soon.
He said of the delay: “That is typical of T&TEC and in the years I have led the OWTU, they were always very slow and slothful and I hope that some change will come about. “I think T&TEC, among a few other employers, has always been very late with regard to its response with demands made by the workers and their union and I can only encourage them to sit around the table and hammer out the issues that separate them,” McLeod added. McLeod, in adding that T&TEC workers have “always had serious problems” with regard to health, safety and environmental issues, saw it only fitting that they fought for better conditions.
“T&TEC workers will continue to struggle for the best conditions of work, especially where those conditions identify itself with health and safety issues,” he said. Asked to comment on the Public Service Association’s (PSA) current matter which has been referred to a special tribunal, McLeod said it was an inappropriate time to comment on the issue. “I think the Minister of Finance indicated his inability to meet the demands that continue to be made and I don’t want to express any particular view at this time because the matter has been referred to the tribunal and so it may be injudicious of me to comment,” he said. The PSA has rejected the Government’s offer of 2-1-2 per cent for the period 2008 to 2010, plus a lump sum payment of $2,000.
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