Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 12th 2013 Contents istrar s term coming to an end with
the deputy campus registrar acting
in the position, even though the post
was advertised twice.
The termination, Ragoonath said,
came at a time when there was no
deputy campus bursar, whose posi-
tion became vacant on August 1,
2012, and had not been renewed.
"Effectively, a senior accountant
is now acting campus bursar,"
The point, Ragoonath noted, was
that the campus senior management
was down to only the principal and
"Wigut is mindful that notwith-
standing that the strong personal-
ities of the acting campus registrar
and acting campus bursar, the fact
remains they are not substantively
appointed, and as such, may give
way to strong opinions from the
other half of senior management.
Wigut has raised this concern with
the principal and, notwithstanding
his assurances, remain worried as
to this state of affairs."
The union was never consulted
about protest action undertaken by
staff in the bursary, Ragoonath also
"Such actions were thus never
sanctioned by Wigut."
He said, "The concern of the
staff, as well as the operations of
the bursary were highlighted by
Wigut in meetings with the VC,
the university registrar, the university
bursar and our own campus prin-
cipal. The end result now is the
campus bursar has been terminat-
In their final submission,
Ragoonath said Wigut asked for
service, off-campus duty and enter-
tainment allowances, while a pro-
posal for the waiver of taxes on
motor vehicles purchases.
Ragoonath explained that Wigut
was forced to make representation
for Open Campus staff at St Augus-
tine to be paid their back pay, fol-
lowing the agreement for new
salaries over the period 2008 to
2010, which was signed in 2010.
"It may be remembered that
while staff of the St Augustine cam-
pus received their new salaries in
December 2010, Open Campus did
not receive the new salaries until
the end of the first quarter of 2011.
By this time St Augustine staff had
already received their back pay."
Wigut prepared to
Also, complaints of delays in pro-
cessing health insurance claims and
getting pre-certification, especially
with employees seeking treatment
Ragoonath said a unit in the
World Index Sub Fund was valued
at US$17.87 per unit, when com-
pared to the US$15.24 rates offered
But while Wigut felt a sense of
comfort in this, Ragoonath said there
would always be volatility in the
financial system which can change
in a day.
Since 2011, Wigut, Ragoonath
said, had asked for new funds to
be made available for staff to invest,
but this did not happen.
"Part of the reason for this is,
simply, that the other Wiguts had
their attention diverted away from
pensions with other issues."
The obligation to be paid by the
university for supplementation
would be substantially reduced,
"Clearly, the university intention
was to save funds and not pay the
required supplementation to mem-
The union immediately called on
the university to stop a paper relating
to the supplementation, since there
was no consultation.
Notwithstanding, Ragoonath said
the paper went to the Finance and
General Purposes Committee and
was accepted in principle, resulting
in Wigut Jamaica filing a general
After a meeting with Wigut
Jamaica, the university admitted to
having faltered in the process and
agreed to take the matter to the
However, at a November 26
meeting last year, Ragoonath stated,
that the university indicated that it
will continue discussions with the
hope to implement local rates in
"The new executive has to remain
prepared to fight this proposal,"
Ragoonath: Issues are internal
In a telephone interview,
Ragoonath said the issues were
"The threats by colleagues to
withdraw from Wigut, that is their
choice. I have nothing to say on
Ragoonath said the campus man-
agement concerns were public
"There was no campus registrar
and no campus bursar at that point
Ragoonath said those vacancies
were filled in February.
"Those matters have been rec-
tified. The university had taken its
time in filling the positions. Admin-
istration will tell you that they took
their time because they were trying
to get the best people for the jobs."
Ragoonath said Wigut was in the
process of negotiation for the other
May 12, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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A report by the West Indies Group
of University Teachers (Wigut) has
raised several concerns about manage-
ment of the St Augustine campus and
threats made to its members to with-
draw from the union.
The eight-page report, dated December
6, 2012, was presented by Dr Bishnu
Ragoonath at the annual general meeting
of the union at the Faculty of Engineering
at the University of the West Indies, St
Augustine campus, for the 2011 to 2012
Eleven people were elected to serve
on Wigut s executive for 2012/2013 with
Ragoonath being re-elected as president.
The report, which the Sunday Guardian
obtained, focused on 16 issues, among
them pensions, open campus, housing
loan agreement, medical insurance, study
and travel grants, car loans and sabbat-
icals/ scholarly leave.
Some of the issues highlighted:
• Management proposing different
rates of benefits for different categories
• Academic staff to be separated from
professional and administrative staff with
different terms and conditions
• Calculation of annuities on local and
not United Kingdom rates
• A reduction of the retirement age
• Wigut seeking increases to salaries
and allowances for transportation, hous-
ing for heads and dean
• Wigut wanting new funds for staff
In thanking the outgoing executive in
his concluding remarks, Ragoonath stated
that there were instances when members
felt they were not adequately serviced,
despite the fact that they worked on a
voluntary basis and still performed their
regular university duties while managing
the union s affairs.
"I say this with the backdrop of
"threats" by some colleagues to withdraw
from Wigut. Maybe, I should say, I did
not address all their concerns and requests
in a timely manner. I appreciate that
there were instances when members felt
that they were not inadequately serviced,
but I must reiterate that we took on the
task as your executive on a voluntary
basis," Ragoonath penned in his report.
In many instances, Ragoonath said,
he spent upward of 20 hours a week
attending to Wigut s matters, noting that
the demand on his time had impacted
negatively on his scholarly activities.
Concerns about management
Under the subheading "campus man-
agement concerns," Ragoonath said Wigut
remained highly concerned about the
management of the campus.
He drew reference to the campus reg-
Wigut report raises concern
over UWI management
Prof Clement Sankat
Dr Bishnu Ragoonath
Contacted by Sunday Guardian
for a comment, St Augustine
Campus principal Prof Clement
Sankat said, "That s all behind
us. These are normal matters
between UWI and the union
(Wigut). Nothing is confidential.
Every employer has these issues.
The document is not something
leaked. And all employers have
"One of the biggest issues is it
did not have a registrar and we
have a campus bursar Pat Harrison.
She came from being deputy uni-
versity bursar at Mona Campus
Asked if he had seen the doc-
ument, Sankat said, "Yes. If you
are leader of an institution, there
would be all kinds of issues. We
filled the position of the campus
registrar with Richard Saunders.
Wages are another issue.
"UWI has a third party which
is the Government. I have no prob-
lem with Wigut. They are doing
what a union is doing. It s not a
big issue. It s a document and its
president (Bishnu Ragoonath) was
reporting to his union. Our staff
and union are important." (ML)
I have no problem with union
...issues being dealt with
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