Couva South Member of Parliament, Rudy Indarsingh, is blaming Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley for the loss of 25,000 jobs since the People’s National Movement (PNM) came to power in September 2015.
And he said that many more jobs are on the line.
Indarsingh was speaking on Friday during an Opposition motion condemning Government for rising unemployment, growing poverty and deteriorating standards of living.
He told the House of Representatives, “The blame for (job losses) lies squarely at the feet of Prime Minister Keith Rowley, he duped the population, telling them ‘Let’s Do This.’ He betrayed the working class and trade union movement. I warn trade unions not to get into bed with the PNM.”
Indarsingh noted media reports of rising unemployment and Central Bank’s estimate of 5,000 jobs lost since the last quarter of 2015, and projected to increase.
He noted the Ministry of Labour only requires businesses to register the number of retrenched workers when this is over five.
But Indarsingh said many small and medium businesses have quietly sent workers home and contractors have sent home hundreds.
Indarsingh called on the ministry to say whether its 10-point plan to assist workers has been successful in getting banks not to foreclose on retrenched workers’ home, as was promised.
Indarsingh said Arcelor Mittal workers are still experiencing pain after being retrenched a year ago.
“One man, a former quality control officer, came to my constituency office and broke down since he’s been forced to sell his house to support his daughter in final year UWI medical studies.
“Another man, who spoke to me yesterday, says he keeps asking for information to ascertain how to plan and is only being told to sign documents first to get information.”
Saying there was no plan to address job creation and no economic growth, Indarsingh added, the only way the PNM knew how to deal with workers was to brutalize them. Told to withdraw that, he rephrased, “The PNM is the most anti-worker, oppressive regime in T&T’s history.”
Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, said the Labour Ministry told him 1,008 have been retrenched during 2016.
Imbert said the PNM Government didn’t have a wage freeze policy. He denied Indarsingh’s claim that Government was advised to implement a freeze by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Imbert said Government has started talks with China on establishing an International Convention Centre locally.