MSJ: Budget an attack on unions, lacks vision

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

MSJ political leader David Abdulah. FILE PHOTO –

POLITICAL leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah said the budget lacked vision and was overshadowed by Government legal action against the teachers’ union aimed at stopping protests.

He saw Government’s action (going to the Industrial Court on Sunday) as a frontal attack not only on TTUTA but the entire trade union movement.

Abdulah accused Government of throwing the collective bargaining process through the window with its decision to go to court to stop teachers from taking protest action.

“Of course the minister reiterated government’s position of its four per cent offer for workers and no more, which really is not collective bargaining,” Abdulah said.

The MSJ’s understanding of what Imbert and Government are proposing is in fact, “a wage freeze with no room for discussion.”

“It’s four percent and no more at a time when the real incomes of people have fallen and the four per cent cannot compensate for inflation.”

Abdulah charged that Imbert’s seventh budget lacked vision to bring about any kind of fundamental change in society in the interest of ordinary people.

While there were a few tax breaks for some people, exemption for people earning $7,500 per month, he observed there was no mention of tax for the windfall profits natural gas companies, in particular, were making.

In terms of property tax which will go into effect in 2023, Abdulah said the MSJ has been consistent in advancing that the process begins with commercial and industrial properties and then households.