Trade unions backtrack again …ROGET, ROWLEY, MAKE UP

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No more ranting and raving. The trade unions have gone silent once more.

After a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Wednesday, the trade unions have backtracked from a previous stance and it would seem they have made up with the Prime Minister and his Government.

The unions dropped out of the tripartite process; they demanded the removal of certain ministers; they were battling the “one percent” business community; and they were preparing a list of businesses to boycott. All that is now gone with the wind!

The unions have decided to rejoin the tripartite process following a commitment from Rowley that there would be no further retrenchment of government employees until the end of the year, December 31.

Ancel Roget, president of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) said the agreement included workers in all entities controlled by the government.

He said the agreement was that if government wants to retrench workers in the new year their plans would be brought to the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC) for discussion although the government would still have the right to make the final decision.

Roget said the unions pulled out of NTAC because they were not satisfied with the way it was operating and the way in which the mass retrenchment of workers in the government and private sector was taking place.

He added that unions and Rowley also agreed that priority on government’s legislative agenda should be given in Parliament to amendments of the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act; the Companies Act and the legislation governing the Recognition and Certification Board and the process for granting recognized majority union status to trade unions as the representative for workers at companies.

He said the process for obtaining recognition is too long and the unions have recommendations for speeding up the process to allow the majority of workers in the country to get representation.

He said there was also agreement on restructuring NTAC to make it more meaningful in serving its mandate and purpose and this will be tackled at the first meeting attended by the unions.

Roget added, “Therefore, at that meeting we will be able to determine who chairs it, how it functions and so on and give it a clear mandate going forward. We were not satisfied then (at the launch of NTAC) and we are not satisfied now, that NTAC is set up to achieve its stated mandate.” He said the unions will invite the prime minister to attend that first meeting of the council to give him an opportunity to be part of the restart of the organisation. 

ANCEL ROGET SPEAKS TO THE MEDIA AFTER THE MEETING ON WEDNESDAY 

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