Thursday 26 April, 2018

Labour Ministry sends home 106 OJT employees

One hundred and six employees with administrative roles who were employed with the On the Job Trainee (OJT) Programme were retrenched and received their severance payments on Monday.

This was revealed via statement from the Ministry of Labour on Monday afternoon.

The release noted that a realigned OJT programme will begin on May 31 with a new streamlined organisational structure that removes the duplication in Support Unit areas at both the Ministry and the OJT programme.

It noted that trainees can be assured of the continuity of the programme and that there will be some familiar faces to address their expected concerns in its new phase as 62 persons will be hired; forty persons will be hired on contract in the new organisational structure, twenty of whom are persons who were previously employed with the OJT Programme. Meanwhile, 22 persons will be part of positions of the establishment of the Ministry.

The three priority areas for the new OJTP as of May 31, will be in the first instance, the timely payment of stipends to trainees on June 15; to minimise, as far as possible, the potential disruption to the registration and placement of persons interested in the OJT programme and to ensure a staff orientation exercise for training in effective service delivery.

Meanwhile, staff of the programme were expected to have collected their cheques at the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies.

Communication Workers’ Union President John Julien spoke with media outside Cipriani College expressing his dissatisfaction with the Ministry of Labour’s treatment of the OJT programme and its employees.

He blamed Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus for taking food out of the mouths of over 100 people.

“What has happened today is that these persons were invited to come to Cipriani College of Labour to receive a cheque and basically they were told that Friday was basically their last day and when they collected the cheque today, they are not to go back to work, that is it for them; punto finale, go home, don’t come back.

The person who is in charge of the Ministry of Labour is the Minister of Labour, the former head of the Public Services Association and we are placing that squarely on her doorstep that states that; the Minister of Labour has placed a death sentence on approximately over 100 OJT staffers.”

Julien said a letter was sent to the National Training Agency department of the Ministry of Education and Minister Baptiste-Primus requesting a meeting. He said correspondence was received from the NTA, forwarding the union to the Labour Minister. The CWU President said a letter was sent on May 19, however, there was no response.

“We find that is a total disrespect not only by somebody who came out of the bowels o the trade union movement but actually the person you now have to go to for a grievance is the same person that has terminated you.”

The OJT programme was conceptualised in 2002, to provide citizens between the ages of 16-35 with an opportunity to gain practical experience in the workplace and assist in the development of professional and interpersonal skills necessary for success.
In February 2016 the OJT was moved from under the ambit of the NTA and was placed under the Labour Ministry.