Thursday 23 November, 2017

Members Club Union slams Government 'treachery'

The Union of Members Clubs and Lottery Workers (UMCW) has slammed what it describes as naked treachery to the workers of the industry – the decision by Government to table the 100 percent increase in taxes on the industry in the Parliament on Friday.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Union appealed to the Government for an opportunity to discuss the issues and facts of the industry before the tax is passed in the Parliament.

The Union said it wrote to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley requesting a meeting immediately after the presentation of the 2018 Budget in Parliament October 2, to which an invitation to discuss the issues and concerns of the Union was extended by way of a letter received October 19.

Minister Fitzgerald Hinds was appointed as the Prime Minister’s representative to discuss the increased taxation on gaming industry equipment, but the Union said it was still awaiting a response from the Minister.

It said its membership was taken by surprise with the Legal Notice 117 which indicated that the 100 percent increase in taxes on gaming equipment was tabled for this Friday.

“Today, 7 November 2017 Minister Hinds communicated with the Union to arrange a meeting,” it added.

Questioning the motive behind the meeting being scheduled after the decision was taken to table the tax increase in Parliament, the Union again requested a meeting with the Prime Minister “to discuss the implications of this ill-conceived taxation on the equipment of the gaming industry”.

The Union restated that the increase in taxes on the equipment will not adversely affect the owners relative to the employees, as they will seek to reduce the number of pieces of equipment in an establishment in an effort to pay less taxes on unprofitable equipment. This move, it said, will result in staff reduction.

“The Union calls on the Government for an opportunity to discuss the issues and facts of the industry before this tax is passed in the Parliament,” it concluded.