NATUC condemns retrenchment of UTT lecturers
The National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) has slammed what it has described as "the old ivory tower and saltwater approach" in condemning the recent firings of 11 lecturers with the University of Trinidad and Tobago.
The lecturers were given dismissal letters on Friday, and nearly 30 more reportedly expected to be sent home after their positions were declared to be redundant.
Standing in solidarity with the sacked lecturers, the union said the approach, which is "rooted in destroying people's working lives" was not a means of addressing economic issues facing the workforce.
"We in NATUC will continue to articulate that it is only job and wage lead growth that can propel our economy out of this economic quagmire. Austerity measures, wage cuts and putting workers on the bread line have been and will continue to a doomed economic solution.
Economic growth without people centred growth is a sure prescription for economic chaos. Based on the ILO’s research, wage growth can generate both demand growth and productivity growth. We also have the example of Germany, the biggest economy in the European Union who has successfully used this theory to their advantage."
The Union warned that retrenchment, laying off workers, cutting workers' benefits and denying wage increases to employees only contributes to slowing down the economy.
NATUC said Barbados is an example of why this is not the route to go as T&T's Caribbean neighbour has experienced sluggish growth over the last ten years.
NATUC is of the view that new ideas must be found. This can only be achieved, it said, when all stakeholders are invited to engage in honest and open in discussions on the way forward for the economy.
"An economy cannot be a Balance Sheet where workers are asked to make all the sacrifices while the 1% and the business and political elites and party financers continue to benefit from unnecessary vanity projects that are not to the overall benefit of the people of Trinidad and Tobago."
NATUC stressed that the education of a country's citizens is important in any modern day economy and to be "callously placed on the economic chopping block, when you least expect it, is heartless and inhumane".
The Union urged Government to hold their hands on the retrenchment at UTT and allow stakeholders, NTAC and all other affected and interested parties to meet, in an earnest effort, to find a people's resolution to the impasse at UTT.
"That must be the only approach from hence forth if we are committed to transparency; democracy good governance and a people centred Economy. Workers must never be used as economic scapegoats and the firing of workers, as the easy way out when things get economically tough, is barbaric," NATUC said.
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