WATCH: Workers continue ADB sit-in, Duke calls for parity
Head of the Public Services Association (PSA), Watson Duke, along with workers of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), continued their sit-in on Wednesday night, protesting what they said are unfair wage conditions.
Duke and workers stayed until 10:00 pm as they sang, rang bells and called for equal terms in wage increases on par with other civil servants.(Video: Workers protest outside of the ADB building in Port of Spain on Wednesday night.)
Speaking to LoopTT, PSA head Watson Duke said these workers were offered unfair terms of a nine percent increase, when other public sector workers had been given a 14 percent increase, for the same jobs.
“The workers continue to resist the silence of management on that critical issue, which is the right to have their salaries on par with other workers for doing similar jobs.”
Duke said by law the workers should be paid salaries that will allow them to support their families.
“Under the Industrial Relations Act, these workers are entitled, by law, to have salary increases that are able to maintain and/or improve their standards of living."
Duke said the workers’ purchasing power which they held from 2010 to 2013 should not be eroded by inflation.
“The workers should be able to maintain the same pay differential that exists between themselves and (other public service fields), because prior to 2013, they were all moved equally. Traditionally they were moved equally in line with the rest of the public service,” he said.
In 2015 government announced that public servants including teachers and police fire, and prison officers would be given a 14 percent increase for the period 2011-2013.
Duke said that it is unfair to give these workers what is essentially a pay cut.
“When the public service got a pay cut, they got a pay cut. Now the civil servants get 14 percent, management is hell-bent on giving them (ADB workers) nine percent. That will be a pay cut, it will affect their pensions, it will affect their ability to purchase goods, and the pay gap between these workers and other civil service workers will widen.”
“We are asking that they be paid on parity with the civil servants as described by the Minister of Finance on the 7th of August 2015, when he spoke of public sector workers who have traditionally received increases and benefits similar to the civil service. They should be paid equally,” he said.