Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 16th 2013 Contents A14
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Staff of the Government Printery has rejected
the relocation of their operations from one dilap-
idated building in Port-of-Spain, to a "rural" area
in Frederick Settlement, Caroni.
Workers said they want to be moved to a building
within the Port-of-Spain area, to a central location
in relation to the government agencies they serve.
Their building on the corner of Victoria Avenue
and Tragarete Road, which was estimated to be more
than 130 years old, was condemned and deemed
unfit for occupation because of health and safety
In January 2011, a piece of concrete fell from the
ceiling onto a worker s desk, prompting protests
through Hart Street, Port-of-Spain, and serious dis-
cussions with the Ministry of Public Utilities about
the safety of the workers.
Printery workers are supposed to begin work at
the new location in December.
However, workers claim that printery management
and the ministry kept the new move to a building
in eTeck Park, Frederick Settlement, a secret, and
they did not get the chance to express their concerns
on the "desolate" location.
"The whole staff didn t really know about what
going on. They (management) was doing what they
want," staff member Trevor Moore said in an inter-
view on Thursday.
Moore was one of five employees who spoke with
the T&T Guardian, brandishing a letter and signed
petition intended for Opposition Leader Keith Rowley
explaining their issue.
An excerpt of the letter read: "We are not prepared
to move out of the city and into a rural area...we
must express our dissatisfaction with the manner
in which the relocation is being conducted. The first
time many of the workers saw the new location was
August 2. How ridiculous is that."
One worker, who did not want her name published
for fear of victimisation, said the proposed location
was too far from the homes of most of the workers
who lived in the East-West Corridor. She described
the location of the building in Frederick Settlement
as lonely and unsafe, and said it afforded zero access
to public transportation, as workers would have to
walk a long way to and from the building.
"We (the staff) know we have to move. That is
a fact. But not where they putting us. It s remote,
and it s out of the way," she said.
In the letter, signed "Employees of the Government
printery," staff members voiced concerns over com-
muting, safety, displacement and after-school care
for their children.
"They (management) told us it s a done deal,"
While the workers plan to picket during their
lunch break next week, they said they had no plans
of inciting a work stoppage.
"We always do our work. We always deliver to
the Government," Gloria Grannum said, a staff mem-
ber with the printery for the past 31 years.
Assistant government printer Ian Gibson said yes-
terday the chosen building was not an "overnight"
thing, and employees had the opportunity to suggest
"They were part of the decision process," he said.
The workers also claimed they were betrayed by
their Public Services Association (PSA) representative
Ian Murray as he did not consult with them about
the relocation to Caroni.
"I held meetings with union members, but people
don t come to meetings," he said in a telephone
"But this is not something that just drop out of
the sky yesterday."
Murray, who is also the chairman of the printers
section, added he had no clout to dictate where the
new location should be.
"I have no authority in moving a government
office," he added.
He said, however, the workers concerns about
transportation and safety were valid, and the ministry
had a responsibility to communicate with them about
the move long before August.
"The ministry has been tardy in providing infor-
mation to workers...the move is upon us and nobody
is talking to the workers," he said.
He said working in the Public Service meant work-
ing where you were required to.
"Wherever they send you to work, you have to go
Gibson agreed, saying: "When you sign up as a
public servant, you have to work any part of Trinidad."
He said the current building was in such a condition
of disrepair, it was necessary to make the move.
"If they don t want to move there, then where?
If we don t move that means we have to stay in a
condemned building," he said.
The frustrated workers initially hoped to get sup-
port from their union, the PSA, but said president
Watson Duke described the matter as "private" and
said he could not get involved.
Duke did not return phone calls yesterday.
Murray explained that once the new building did
not present health and safety issues, there was noth-
ing the union could do.
"It is not something the PSA could intervene in,"
Murray said, adding that a health and expert from
the union already inspected the building in Caroni.
Govt Printery staff
A Government Printery employee operates a guillotine, in background, while
another waits for the cut material during work at the printery at the corner of
Victoria Avenue and Tragarete Road, Port-of-Spain.
Public Utilities Minister Nizam Baksh said
yesterday that the ministry planned to invite the
media to a tour of the new location in Caroni. He said
the best way to show the new location was an
improvement was to show it.
When questioned about the transportation
concerns raised by staff members, he said the
ministry was considering the acquisition of shuttles.
"We have discussed plans for a shuttle that will
bring people from certain locations."
He said the move was absolutely necessary, and
consultants will be sent to the printery to talk with
workers about the change.
"Whatever you do, there will be people who won't
be satisfied initially," he said in a telephone interview.
Baksh said the state of the building in Port-of-
Spain made it necessary for an urgent move.
"The walls are collapsing, we have to do
something. We are fast-tracking so we can move
He said a weekly meeting was held with a
committee comprising ministry staff, Government
printery management and a representative from the
PSA to plan and monitor the implementation of all
aspects of the relocation.
Additionally, director of communications unit at
the ministry Nicole Rodriguez-Eligon said via e-mail
on Thursday a consultant will soon be on board to
conduct "change management workshops" for
printery staff during which time their issues and
challenges with the move can be aired and
She added that the location of the building was in
a "very accessible area."
"Both maxis and taxis traverse the route. Plans are
also being put in place to obtain a bus which will be
used to transport staff to and from the office."
Gibson said it was likely the bus would leave from
Curepe and bring workers straight to the new
About the Government
According to the Ministry of Public
Utilities Web site, the Government
Printery was established to provide
printing, binding and related services
for the Government and the public.
• prints and sells official government
publications that are required by law to
the public, including the T&T gazette,
acts of parliament, bills, legal notices,
official government forms and road
and city maps
• printing and/or binding of books,
forms and other documents to be used
by government ministries, department
• printing of statutes of parliament
and ballot papers
• sales to the public of government
publications and forms that are
required by law
• consultancy services to other
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