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Labour misleading citizens, says Gov’t

Trinidad Express / Statements that the Government had planned mass retrenchment of public sector employees and that this was staved off by the labour movement’s request for a moratorium on this action are misleading.

This is according to the Office of the Prime Minister in response to statements by Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) head Ancel Roget that the trade unions were able stop a lot of retrenchment the Government had planned.

A moratorium of State sector retrenchment until December 2017 was agreed to at a meeting on Wednesday between the Prime Minister and representatives of the JTUM, National Trade Union Centre (Natuc) and Federation of Independent Trade Union and NGOs (Fitun), among other labour bodies.

Following the meeting, in an interview with reporters, Roget said the moratorium would prevent mass retrenchment which was planned by the Government.

In response, the Office of the Prime Minister stated, “The statement attributed to the Leader of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) that the Government had planned mass retrenchment of public sector employees at this time and that this was staved off by Labour’s request for a moratorium on this action is absolutely misleading.

It was always Labour’s contention that Government was engaging in mass layoffs even though that was not true and the Government was at pains to point out that Government’s actions were the opposite, meant to keep as many persons in employment even as the country’s finances posed a serious challenge to this objective.”

The release continued that although no mass retrenchment was happening at the time or planned, the labour movement insisted on asking for a moratorium until December.

“The Government is very disappointed that its efforts at engagement with Labour intending to build trust and cooperation in the national interest can be so easily undermined by self-serving and misleading representation of the facts,” it stated.

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