Was the trade union march in Port-of-Spain on Friday a farse?
Was this march going to play out to a full script of Ancel Roget calling for a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley within the next two weeks?
Will Rowley complete the script by agreeing to meet with Roget and other trade union members?
Will Roget and Rowley kiss and make-up after their memorandum of understanding, signed in August 2015, had gone bad for the trade union movement and the Government?
The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) is demanding to meet with the Prime Minister within the next two weeks
Failing this, JTUM has signaled its intention to intensify action following Friday’s united labour march in Port-of-Spain.
Although he declined to say what they will do if the Prime Minister doesn’t meet them, Roget urged those in authority to meet and discuss the way forward with the trade union movement, as well as honour judgments regarding payments awarded to people who have successfully taken the employer to court and won. He also urged the Government to put an immediate halt to the mass retrenchment exercises currently taking place throughout the public service.
He made the calls as he addressed workers who participated in a rally,where he also called for the immediate removal of the four non-performing ministers, among them National Security Minister, Edmund Dillion, Finance Minister, Colm Imbert, Tourism Minister, Shamfa Cudjoe, and Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan.
Roget warned Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, tomove out the way. Accusing Baptiste-Primus of being a minister against the people instead of for the people, Roget said the labour movement was prepared to once again bruise their knees to achieve a resolution in favour of the working class.
He was referring to 2011, when trade union leaders embarked on a three-day fast to bring an end to the state of emergency which had been implemented by the then Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration, as they argued it was hurting poor people.
Roget also called for the settlement of all outstanding wage negotiations and challenged the People’s National Movement (PNM) to come clean about this country’s economic and financial situation.
Roget said Rowley and Persad-Bissessar had proven to be kindred souls, adding they were both “ungrateful, wicked and deceitful.”
He expressed disappointment in the PNM for promising the citizenry a different future than that from the previous government, yet acting in the same careless manner.
He said the country had been disillusioned by the previous government and had greedily grasped the life-line offered by the PNM, but Roget said while they had not scrutinised the applicant properly, it was not too late to remove them as “our patience is short now.”
In dismissing the Government’s claims that this country had no money, Roget said it was the workers who were producing the money Government has been enjoying thus far and that a certain level of respect must be afforded to this sector. He warned that in the absence of this, “the time is coming very close when workers will be forced to withdraw their labour.”
Describing worker retrenchment and stalled wage negotiations as austerity measures being adopted by the Government, Roget said the united labour movement could no longer stand by and tolerate the exploitation of workers.
He also sent a strong warning to media workers who continue to criticise trade unions and their actions, as he said they were about defending and preserving the rights of citizens.
He added, “We will not remain silent while injustice continues in T&T,” Roget vowed, adding that it was the working class who continued to suffer while Government contracts continued to be given to a hand-picked few.