MSJ: Government pursuing anti-worker agenda

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Movement for Social Justice political leader David Abdulah. FILE PHOTO

THE Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) has said recent announcements by Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales about restructuring the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) and a the Chief Personnel Officer’s (CPO) “final offer” of a four per cent wage increase to three trade unions show the Government is pursuing an anti-worker agenda.

In a statement on Thursday, MSJ political leader David Abdulah first cited comments by Gonzales on July 28 that WASA’s 426-strong management team will be cut by 50 per cent, and the company’s top management was replaced last July.

He argued that describing the 426 positions as “management” or executive management, created a false narrative to make the public believe that WASA had a huge executive team.

“The truth is that of the 426, the majority are supervisors, not managers or executives.”

Abdulah questioned what kinds of procurement processes were used at WASA and Gonzales’ public comments about ending nepotism at the authority.

“Restructuring equals retrenchment and much more.”

Abdulah reiterated the MSJ’s views that Government is “restructuring” society through efforts to eliminate trade unions; eliminate permanent, decent jobs; and contract work out to a selected few.

“This will result in a society where there will be a tiny class of super rich; a small class in the middle of those who are comfortable; (and) a very large class of workers who are the working poor.”

Abdulah criticised the CPO’s offer of a four per cent wage increase offer for 2014-2019 to the Fire Services Association, the Prison Officers’ Association and the Police Service Social and Welfare Association, earlier this week.

He observed that the three unions represent Trinidad and Tobago’s frontline security and safety workers.

Abdulah claimed the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Colm Imbert were advancing a position that only workers must bear the burden of adjustment in challenging economic times.

“Workers must band their belly trying to deal with high and rising food prices, the increase in fuel price and transportation, while the elite few enjoy the fine life.”

He said workers and the labour movement will have to fight alongside others in a mass movement to prevent Government from succeeding with its alleged anti-worker agenda.