Sunday 7 June, 2020

NATUC: Trade unions are essential

The National Trade Union Centre of Trinidad and Tobago (NATUC) is calling on the Government to include unions on the list of essential services. 

Government has mandated that all non-essential activity be halted for two weeks, effective from midnight on Sunday, in a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Citizens have been told to stay indoors for the duration of this order, unless they are essential workers or can justify why they need to be outside.

In a statement, NATUC noted that front line workers and first responders in the fight against the COVID-19 global pandemic are in fact members of Trade Unions.

NATUC is of the view that the right to Trade union representations is a fundamental human right which must not be allowed to be comprised under any circumstances. 

The Union said it is for this reason that Government must “do the right thing and place the Trade Union on the essential list”. 

In calling to be added to the list of essential activities, the Union wrote: “To assume that there will be no disagreement dispute and/or Grievances occasion by COVID-19 and /or health and safety issue that will warrant parties to meet and treat with employers in good faith over any issue is misplaced and misdirected ‐' in fact, the engagement with employers, representatives have increased throughout the Coronavirus.”

NATUC said unions ought to be listed as essential, given the legitimate rights of Trade Unions to represent and seek the best interest of its members.

On Friday, National Security Minister Stuart Young in making the distinction on what constitutes essential work indicated that more activities and services could be added to the list.

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