Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 12th 2017 Contents The Communication Workers’ Union, (CWU), would like to publicly express its grave
concern with respect to the recent announcement by the Minister of Tourism,
Ms. Shamfa Cudjoe that the Cabinet of the Peoples National Movement Government
has taken the decision to dissolve the Tourism Development Company, TDC. This
the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort on Thursday 9th March, 2017.
The Union would like to bring some clarity to this situation so that the citizens can be
more educated and informed.
THE MANDATE OF THE TDC
TDC Is a special purpose State Enterprise established in 2005 with the expressed
mandate to develop and enhance all aspects of the tourism sector in Trinidad and
Tobago. With that mandate was the clear delineation between Trinidad and Tobago,
with the TDC having the responsibility for the development of the Tourism product
Demming as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the then CEO Mr. Chin was
in the life of the new Board, confusion started with the Line Minister removing
Ms. Demming as the Chairperson and replacing her with Mr. Richard Duncan.
The Union wrote to the CEO on August 23, 2016, seeking to have several outstanding
issues impacting on the Employees employment relationship resolved. We thereafter
wrote to the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Richard Duncan, via letter dated
September 21, 2016, alerting him to the obstinacy of his Executive Management
Trinidad and Tobago. We did remind the Chairman that the TDC, as a State funded
Entity, had an obligation to abide with the Laws of the Country.
At a Standing Finance Committee during the debate on the 2017 Budget which was
held in the Lower House. The Minister was on record as stating that the Tourism
Development Company was now undertaking a comprehensive Structural Review
including a Human Resource Review and that she was sure that there were some
positions that were not relevant to the operations of the Company. She also stated
that there is a problem of duplication of positions at the TDC that will be treated with.
The Union wrote the Minister via letter dated October 24, 2016 seeking her
intervention and an urgent meeting based on the challenges we were having with
the Chairman of the Board of Directors and in the face of her recent articulation in
Parliament. We got no response from the Minister, but sometime in November, the
Minister of Labour and Small Enterprise Development called the Secretary General
and seeking to facilitate a meeting between the Union and the Minister. This meeting
was held on December 01, 2016.
At that meeting, the Union indicated to the Honourable Minister, that the Job Security
of the members of our Bargaining Units was placed under threat as several Contracts
were not renewed and there was no indication as the future tenure of the workers.
We also reminded the Minister that for years and under successive Governments,
the TDC was used as a Political Football with the staff suffering from the negative
also articulated that the excellent professional, analytical and creative work done by
the staff was ignored and sidelined in favour of un-professional and disingenuous
strategies and plans which only facilitated the obscene plundering of the state coffers.
While all this malfeasance was taking place, the positioning of Tourism as an
abandoned. As such, the CWU which now has Recognized Majority Union status for
those de-motivated Bargaining Unit Employees has taken the position that we will
not allow this economically challenging period to be used as the excuse to endanger
the Job security of those workers who would have shouldered the burden of the
Minister did indicate that the Ministry was undertaking a Human Resource Audit at
the TDC and she would consult and engage the Union on the completion of this Audit
on the way forward for the TDC.
To our chagrin and in a most disingenuous manner, at 1.14 p.m . on Thursday 9th
March, 2017, the Secretary General of the Union, Comrade Joseph Remy, received
a call from the Minister. She indicated that she was at a Cabinet Meeting and she
was taking the opportunity to inform the Union before the Governments Post cabinet
Meeting that the Cabinet had taken a decision to dissolve the TDC. The Minister
also stated that there would be a new regulatory body and in response to a query
about the status of workers of the Bargaining Unit, she stated that she would have
to engage the Union in subsequent discussions; the conversation with the Secretary
General lasted a whopping one minute and forty eight seconds (1min 48 sec).
The Union would like to make it pelluicidly clear that we were never consulted
prior to this decision being taken. We wish to state that in January 2017, the TDC
commenced an investigation into the award of a Contract to Beckles Environmental
Services Limited on July 7, 2016 relative to Drainage and Associated Works along
the Maracas Bay Car Park. This Contract was awarded after the names of four (4)
Contractors were allegedly submitted by the then Minister of Works. Subsequent to
that, the Ag. CEO was sent on vacation Leave in January 2017 and has been on
leave since then. Two other employees have also been sent on Vacation Leave and
Administrative Leave simultaneously, one of them being a member of one of the
CWU Bargaining Units.
A meeting which was supposed to be held on Monday 6th March, 2017 to reveal
the Interim CEO of the TDC. Curiously on Thursday 8th March, 2017, the Minister
The Union questions the timing of this decision, which was done before the
in ve stigation into the award of this contract can be revealed. We are left ask what
this decision reeks of anti-union, anti-worker tendencies. Months after the Union
submitted its proposals for a new Collective Agreement for the workers of the TDC,
the Government wants to now dissolve the Company and start over with two (2) new
entities. In effect, the Government would be denying those workers their right to have
Trade Union representation, which they are legitimately entitled to have.
The CWU would like to advise the Government that we would not roll over and allow
the workers at TDC to be trampled upon. We are convinced that this decision is
wrong, misguided, ill-timed and ill-conceived and were not done on the basis of any
been derived if a proper reorganisation and restructuring was done in collaboration
with all stakeholders, inclusive of the CWU.
As such, we signal our intention to engage in an intense struggle to protect the jobs
of all members of our Bargaining Unit and by extension the livelihood of their
families. We want to advise the Government that the previous People’s Partnership
Government attacked workers and ordinary citizens of the Country and they paid
the ultimate political price. As such, they must immediately annul this decision and
engage in meaningful consultation with the CWU on the way forward for the TDC and
its employees. Failing which would only result in them suffering the same fate as the
For this we “Dare to Struggle”.
Original signed by
Secretar y General
COMMUNICATING THE TRUTH
THE CWU CONDEMNS THE GOVERNMENTS DECISION TO DISSOLVE
THE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
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