Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 28th 2015 Contents A25
Saturday, November 28, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
CLOSING OF PRIVATE ROADS ON LANDS
OF YARA TRINIDAD LTD.
Notice is hereby given that the Private Roads situate
on lands of Yara Trinidad Ltd. at Savonetta in the
ward of Couva leading from Southern Main Road to
the chemical fertilizer plant and the customs housing
of Yara Trinidad Ltd. will be closed to the public on
Sunday, November 29, 2015 between the hours of
6.00 a.m and 8.00 a.m.
Dated the 25th day of November 2015
For and behalf of Yara Trinidad Ltd.
Ronald Dattadeen -
Finance & Administration Manager
What a difference a month or two or
even a week makes.
On either side of a general election
and "regime change," the perspectives
on issues change; or so we are sup-
posed to believe.
Last weekend, on his way out of the
country, Prime Minister Rowley com-
mended his new Board of the National
Gas Company (NGC) for its decision to
decree a wage freeze and bonus cut on
the workers in the company and all its
He hailed this unilateral interference
in the workers' terms and conditions of
employment of which they were "in-
formed" by company email, as "sensi-
A few days later he was joined in his
support of this action by the recent-
former energy minister.
Why the wage freeze/pay cut impo-
According to the Board of the NGC,
this pre-emptive strike against the
workers' incomes was necessary be-
cause this cash cow for the state was
faced with "low energy prices."
The company claimed its profits
were in decline from $6 billion in 2010
to $3 billion this year.
This begs the question: Is the decline
in the NGC profits as a result of the
workers' pay? This is an argument that
is as old as the history of booms and
busts that are a constant feature of
the economic system which is driven
by the profit motive.
The NGC board and the PM need to
clarify what really is the reason for this
decree on pay for the workers. Is it be-
cause of "low energy prices" or because
of "smaller profits?"
In either case, the workers' pay de-
termines neither of these outcomes.
A university professor has advanced
this false argument further by calling
for a national wage freeze in light of
economic and fiscal decline brought
about by the massive drop in oil and
gas prices in the last year.
NGC's management by decree is dra-
In the world of modern labour rela-
tions, it is neither sensible nor good in-
dustrial relations practice for an
employer to interfere with its workers'
pay or pay determination by unilateral
In T&T's industrial relations system,
this would be an Industrial Relations
Offence if these workers were repre-
sented by a recognised majority union.
The company would be fined and its
managers open to criminal charges if
the NGC was unionised.
The last time a Government acted
by unilateral edict to cut state employ-
ees pay, it was found guilty of IROs in
several bargaining units and of breach
of the constitutional rights of its
public servants. That was in the 1986-
The excuse was the same---declining
economic fortunes o the workers had
to pay with their wages and jobs.
This is a situation with which the
current Labour Minister would be very
familiar with since it was her union
which got the Hood-Caesar decision in
the High Court and several IRO deci-
sions in the Industrial Court.
In this case, the present Government
has chosen to launch its "austerity"
programme against the NGC workers,
who cannot file IRO claims.
They have deliberately chosen the
line of least resistance to introduce this
round of offloading the burden of
chronic crisis onto the workers' backs.
In the 80s, the private sector (out of
which the NGC chairman comes) took
the lead with the six or nine per cent
wage increase limit. Then the wage
and COLA cuts followed.
The professor's call for general wage
freeze is the clarion call for the NGC
"initiative" to be expanded nationally.
Cynical moves by Government
The NGC edict was issued on the
16th. The PM met with a section of the
trade union movement, promising a
"new" tripartite body on the 20th. On
the 21st, the PM hailed the "sensible"
unilateralism of the NGC. The Labour
Minister then excused the unilateral
action as "oversight" in a meeting with
the same union body on the 23rd.
In light of these developments one
union expressed "worry" that the NGC
action will be the template for other
similar moves by this government.
They can expect that this worry will
turn to certainty.
More so as their faction of the trade
union movement continues to rely on
an MOU signed with a political party,
mistaking it for an enforceable agree-
ment with Government. Their misun-
derstanding is matched only by the
cynical manoeuvrings of the PM and
It was only a few weeks ago that the
same PM and his "team" on the hus-
tings were blaming the (mis)fortunes
of the NGC on the then government.
Now that the shoe is on the other foot,
"Government" can no longer be blamed.
So, the tune has changed so that
"energy price pressures" and "workers'
incomes" are the new culprits.
In this way, the austerity programme
is to be justified as "sensible" "required
All this rectitude is only to cloud the
real causes of the frequent crises of
the economic system and the pre-
dictable anti-social responses similarly
dispensed regardless of who is in Gov-
Those who speak of following the
"Butlerite tradition" of trade unionism
will do well to understand this.
The line of
Consider the headline of this column.
If it had been "Why Mothers
Matter," you would
probably not be reading this
sentence since you would
have figured, rightly or
wrongly, that you
already knew why
mothers are important
to a child. But
fathers? Hmm. Do
they matter at all?
I myself had this
same bias. In preparing
to write this series, I
read the best general
books on parenting I
could find. Yet it never
occurred to me to seek out a
book specifically about fathers.
And it probably wouldn t have
occurred to me, except that two
weeks ago I spoke to social
anthropologist Professor Jaipaul L
Roopnarine, co-author along with
UWI child education expert Dr
Carol Logie, at the launch of their
study Child-Rearing Practices in
the Caribbean at the Family
Development Centre in St Augustine.
This is the most important survey of the
Caribbean family in over 40 years, and the first
about children in T&T. Professor Roopnarine
specialises in studying fathers across different
societies, and only then did it occur to me that I
had not sought out father-specific information.
And, when I did go searching, I found that my
perception was justified: I found only one gener-
al book on fatherhood---indeed, all the other
general books had the usual female bias, being
about fathers relating to their daughters (pre-
sumably, the publishers figured women would
buy this for their partners). There wasn t even
one similar book on fathers relating to their
At any rate, the book I did eventually get is
called Do Fathers Matter? and it s written by
Paul Raeburn who is a "blogger, media critic,
writer," according to his bio note. So he s
not even a traditional journalist. Nonethe-
less, the book comprehensively covered the
latest research on fathers and Raeburn seems
to understand his science, since he was cau-
tious to note the limits of observational data
and extrapolating from animal studies to
But nearly all the existing studies on parent-
ing have an even more funda-
mental flaw: Raeburn inter-
psychiatrist Kyle D Pruett
who has studied fathers for
over 30 years and who
says: "Not looking at the
impact of fathers and
children on one
another has given the
entire field (and the
books it produces) a
myopic and worrisomely
distorted view of child
development, a view
with staggering blind
I ll be referring to Raeburn s book often in
future columns but, for now, here are a few tit-
The children of fathers who are obese are
more likely to be obese. You might think, well
duh. But the researchers also found that children
of fathers who eat high-fat diets are more likely
to develop Type 2 diabetes---which suggests that
such a diet actually changes the father s sperm.
And the obverse side is even weirder: the
grandchildren of men who had not had much to
eat in their lifetime were less likely to die from
heart disease or diabetes. This would make an
interesting basis to survey the generational health
of the descendants of indentured labourers.
The bottom line? Fathers influence on their
children, biologically and psychologically and
socially, is more extensive than popularly
MAN & CHILD
Why fathers matter
A PARENTING COLUMN BY KEVIN BALDEOSINGH
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