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City corp denies job loss claims

Published: 
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Michael Prentice, president general of the Amalgamated Workers’ Union addresses Port-of-Spain City Corporation sanitation workers at the Mucurapo facility yesterday. Photo by:ANISTO ALVES

Plans are afoot to retrench sanitation workers at the Port-of-Spain City Corporation, according to Michael Prentice, president general of the Amalgamated Workers’ Union.

Prentice made the claim yesterday at the corporation’s sanitation department in Mucurapo as he addressed approximately 75 concerned corporation workers.

But the claims were almost immediately dismissed by a senior city corporation official.

Contacted for comment, chief executive officer of the city corporation Annette Stapleton-Seaforth said, “We have no information on anybody going home.”

Asked if there was any truth to the claims being made by the union, she replied: “I have no information on that. I am unable to comment on that.”

Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez’s could not be reached for comment, however, Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein said: “This is the first time I am hearing about this.”

Kazim said he will launch an investigation, as well as talk to his permanent secretary and Martinez and give feedback today.

“There is a plan afoot to oust sanitation workers out of the city of Port-of-Spain. We are not going to sit back and accept this. This is total disrespect. They would only understand when garbage is not picked up off the streets and we cannot go to the landfills to drop off (garbage) that we are an essential service,” Prentice said.

Prentice did not say how many workers are likely to face the axe and when they will be sent home.

Giving solidarity to the workers were members of the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union, general secretary of the Postal Workers’ Union David Forbes and president general of the Joint Trade Union Movement Ancel Roget.

Roget warned the workers that if they did not guard their jobs it would be put into the hands of “private interest.”

He said their jobs will be performed by different people “but not you. So if you think I making fun with that, comrades, think again.”

Roget claimed the corporation wanted to get rid of the workers because their productivity level was rated at a mere 20 per cent despite the fact they religiously remove garbage off the city’s streets.

He warned if the workers fail to do their work, the unions will deal with them appropriately.

Every day, Roget said workers continue to be sent home, while prices at the supermarkets continue to soar with no one standing in their corner.

“There is more to go. From 2015 to now thousands of workers have faced the breadline. Of course, this is going to impact the entire country when you send workers home. It’s time to hold the bull by its horns or the Rottweiler by his ears and deal with them.”

Roget said the Government was thriving on silence as they continue to do what, when and how they want to the lower working class.

He said while the Government has been insisting that they are strapped for funds, in the face of this, millions of dollars are being spent on highways and even the Curepe Interchange.

“When they tell you the country has no money…they telling you the country has no money for you. The first priority must be for those who are at the lowest end of the economic ladder.”

Forbes said the time was near for a nationwide march, stating that Rowley’s ship was sinking.

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