Sugarcane Feed Centre workers accept four per cent wage increase

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chief Personnel Officer Commander Dr Daryl Dindial and general secretary of the All Trinidad General Workers’ Trade Union at Dindial’s office on Tuesday before the union accepted the four per cent wage increase for workers of the Sugarcane Feeds Centre. – Courtesy Office of the CPO

The All Trinidad General Workers’ Trade Union (ATGWTU) has become the latest trade union to accept the government’s four per cent wage increase offer.

A media release by the Office of the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) said the ATGWTU, led by Nirvan Maharaj, signed the agreement on Tuesday on behalf of the workers at the Sugarcane Feeds Centre.

Sixty-five workers, including hourly-rated, daily-rated and junior monthly paid employees, will receive the increase for the period January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2019.

Those workers will also receive an increase in meal allowances while junior monthly paid staff will also get an increase in their travelling allowance and commuted overtime allowance.

Any junior monthly paid employees or hourly and daily-rated workers who retired between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2015, will receive a one-time tax-exempted lump sum payment of $4,000.

This is the second collective agreement signed between the ATGWTU and the CPO for workers in the agricultural sector.

In December 2023, the union also accepted the offer on behalf of the employees at the Mora Valley Farm in Rio Claro.

On that occasion, CPO Commander Dr Daryl Dindial said the State was compelled to adjust salaries for the employees for the period before 2014 after it was noted that “the salaries paid to the employees at Mora Valley Farm were lower in comparison to those of the comparator positions in the market.”

The Mora Valley Farm employees also received several new allowances and benefits, including protective clothing and gear agreed upon based on the union’s request and industry standard, the introduction of leave for union business, provisions for injury on the job, leave of absence from duty on the grounds of illness, a duty allowance for extra hours worked on the farm and the introduction of a grievance procedure.

Dindial thanked the union for its continued commitment to addressing its members’ issues and appealed to unions which have not accepted the offer to do so.

Meanwhile, parliamentary representative for Couva South Rudranath Indarsingh is calling on the government to say when wage negotiations with more than 1,000 TT Postal Corporation workers will begin.

Indarsingh said he was approached by members of the Postal Workers Union who met with him in his capacity as an opposition shadow member with responsibility for labour.

He said union president Shurland Trim and general secretary David Forbes told him that negotiations did not start “because the parameters for such were not provided to the management by the Government.”

Indarsingh described the delay in negotiations as “shameful,” saying the employees are living on 2014 salaries.

“This is unacceptable, considering the increasing costs of living, escalating food prices, rising utilities, imminent property taxes, skyrocketing fuel costs,” he said.

He called on Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales to say why negotiations have been delayed and when they will begin.