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for 08TH OCTOBER, 2015
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Friday, October 9, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Government must treat with
labour issues before the Joint Trade
Union Movement (JTUM) can even con-
sider accepting its $15 million budget
However, the National Trade Union
Centre (Natuc), met with Finance Minister
Colm Imbert yesterday and accepted its
share of the allocation with "open arms
and an open heart."
Imbert announced the allocation for
JTUM and the Natuc during his Budget
presentation on Monday.
Since then, Opposition MPs have been
skeptical of the allocation, asking whether
it was "pay back" for the labour move-
ment s support.
Calling for a manpower audit to deter-
mine the suitability of people occupying
top positions in state enterprises and gov-
ernment departments, Roget, in a letter
to Imbert, brought a number of labour
relations issues to Imbert s attention.
"We carefully considered JTUM s allo-
cation and its stated noble objective and
intention to assist the labour movement
in building capacity and for providing
technical and training support.
"Notwithstanding this, respectfully
JTUM wishes to identify some critical
priorities that should receive immediate
attention," Roget said.
He said it was JTUM s respectful posi-
tion that the following priority areas
should take precedence before any con-
sideration could be given to accept the
Those priority areas, he said, included
the immediate settlement of the remaining
long-outstanding state sector negotiations
and the immediate commencement of
amendments to outdated labour legisla-
Roget also called for the immediate
commencement of investigations and an
audit of all state enterprises where alle-
gations and evidence of corruption existed
and the immediate implementation of a
manpower audit at all state enterprises
and government departments to deter-
mine the suitability of persons occupying
Roget said JTUM viewed the allocation,
not just as a narrow line item which car-
ried a dollar value of $15 million, but
instead a broader statement of govern-
ment s intention to treat labour as a critical
stakeholder with its deserving priority
"This statement we accept as an early,
clear and strong signal which sets the
tone for a highly productive working rela-
tionship and for this major statement we
express our profound thanks and appre-
ciation," he added.
Roget said JTUM was painfully aware
of the current state of the economy and
the political, social and economic chal-
lenges that faced the country.
In a telephone interview yesterday
evening, Natuc president James Lambert
said whatever JTUM wanted to do, was
JTUM s business and did not concern
"It is my understanding that Govern-
ment intended for the allocation to be
divided between the two bodies and Natuc
will therefore accept with open arms and
heart whatever Government allocates to
them out of the $15 million," Lambert
He said Natuc never asked for that sum
and he felt Government was being gen-
erous to labour.
"We are willing to accept it to further
our training and education programmes
and we met with the minister today to
make our position known."
Natuc accepts Govt's $
Students of the Fyzabad Secondary school perform a local folk interpretative dance
during the National Junior Arts Festival NGC Sanfest at the Fyzabad Secondary School,
Fyzabad yesterday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
SANFEST FOLK DANCE
President of the National Gas Company
(NGC) Indar Maharaj and three other senior
executives at the state-owned company---
Nazim Sarjad, manager, Construction Services;
Charmaine Mohamed, manager, corporate
communications and Cheryl Boodoosingh,
manager, procurement and contracts---have
been sent on leave with immediate effect pend-
ing a financial audit into the state company.
The action was taken following the first meet-
ing of the newly-appointed board of directors
of the company which is now chaired by Gerry
Maria Thorne, vice president, legal and cor-
porate management, will act as president and
other managers have been appointed to act for
the three managers who are proceeding on leave.
A brief statement from NGC said: "The deci-
sion is consistent with international best practice,
given the significant and precipitous decline in
the company s performance in the last two
"A financial audit will commence shortly and
a reputable international financial firm has also
been retained to conduct other specific audits.
"The board of NGC is committed to ensuring
proper corporate governance, cognisant of NGC s
strategic and commercial importance to the
future development of the natural gas-based
sector and the economy of Trinidad and Tobago.
"The board is also committed to making the
appropriate interventions to realise the full
potential of NGC."
There had been concerns in recent months
about the company s financial performance.
The $4.5 billion in profit after tax reported by
NGC for the year ended December 31, 2014,
was lower than $6.5 billion for the previous
In May the company was downgraded by
Moody s Rating Services to a credit rating of
Baa2 and its total assets decreased in 2014,
compared to 2013. For the period ended Decem-
ber 31, 2014 the company held $44.3 billion in
assets compared to 2013 when it held $45.1 bil-
lion in assets.
sent on leave
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