Gonzales: TSTT acting in best interest of shareholders

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales.

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said he is satisfied that TSTT’s executive management and board of directors was acting in the best interest of shareholders and complying with the collective bargaining agreement in retrenching 28 estate police officers represented by the Estate Police Association.

He was responding to a motion by Opposition Senator Wade Mark in the Senate on Tuesday, where Mark called on the government to tell TSTT to rescind the order of retrenchment for 468 TSTT workers, over vigorous objection from the government bench.

Mark asked why the company would lay off these workers in a time of economic stagnation. He also asked whose interest the government was seeking, as he understood that the 28 workers would be replaced by private security Amalgamated Security.

In his response, Gonzales said TSTT’s restructuring exercise was not a secret, as it had announced that it commenced restructuring discussions with all representing unions since February.

“What more can you expect of a company that has a responsibility to its workers to comply with the collective bargaining agreement when engaged in restructuring? The duty of restructuring is not for the shareholder, it is one of the basic principles of business. It is the business of management and the executive board to conduct restructuring. We expect the board and executive management to act in the best interests of shareholders by ensuring there are greater returns, and if they are of the view that restructuring is best, the government as shareholder should not get involved.”

Gonzales said he was satisfied that TSTT continues to be given the best legal advice as it moved forward with the restructuring exercise. He said if Mark or the Opposition had a problem with how the exercise was being carried out, they were free to go to the courts for redress.