Duke tells Tobago workers: Don’t settle for less than you deserve

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Hayden Duke, front, PSA industrial relations officer, Tobago region, leads PSA members during Sunday’s Labour Day march and rally from Lowlands to Scarborough. – David Reid

Do not settle for less. Settle for what you are worth.

This was former Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke’s message to workers in Tobago on Sunday during Labour Day celebrations.

Duke, who is THA deputy chief secretary, was alluding to the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) Dr Daryl Dindial’s initial two per cent wage offer to public sector workers for the period 2014-2021.

Dindial has since improved on that offer, proposing a four per cent wage increase for public servants for the period 2014-2019.

The CPO made the offer last week during meetings with the Public Services Association, Police Social and Welfare Association and Fire Services Association.

Addressing workers at the Scarborough Esplanade, Duke described the initial two per cent wage increase offer as an insult.

“When they offered you two per cent in Trinidad, it was not an offer,” he said.

“They do not see you as part of the country even though you work for them.”

Duke said the scenario reminded him of a statement made by former US First Lady Michelle Obama in 2016, in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in which she urged supporters to not stoop to partisan insults by then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Duke said, “So, when they go low, you must go high, way up. Do not settle for less. Settle for what you are worth. You are a human being, just like them. You have desires for your life and taking care of your children yourself. Just like them you want to pay your bills yourself.”

Duke said any man without money is a weak man.

“They are making you less than a man, and any woman without money is a weak woman.”

Noting that food prices and other goods and service were escalating, Duke said the Progressive Democratic Patriots, since assuming office in December 2021, has been attempting to make good on some of the promises it made in the run up to the THA election.

Referring to its recent decision to increase the salaries of Cepep and URP workers on the island, Duke said, “Look at how we have been able to lift the lives of the underclass. If we get a chance at that Treasury, look at what we could do next. We will lift every man and every woman way up.”

He said the PDP, under Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, is on a mission to help those who have fallen through the cracks of the society.