Wednesday 2 December, 2020

NATUC rejects budget talks with Imbert

Photo: Finance Minister Colm Imbert. Credit: Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo: Finance Minister Colm Imbert. Credit: Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

The National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) will not participate in any discussions on the 2021 Budget with Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

Interest groups, including trade unions have been invited to make submissions to the Minister on their recommendations for the budget.

But, NATUC has passed on that invitation as it said from its experience over the past five years engaging the Minister, such discussions have been less than productive.

The Union said: “NATUC's past experience over the last 5 years engaging the Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert in discussions have proven to be an exercise in futility and one that is more PR rather than addressing the issues affecting the working-class, the disadvantage, and the voiceless.”

The Union noted that it has made proposals each budget cycle, but to date, issues facing the workers it represents have remain unaddressed.

“NATUC would have submitted comprehensive proposals in each budget year to address the growing income and wealth inequality in the country.

These proposals include; involvement of the Trade Union in Business and the Economy, the freezing of Government daily and monthly employees' salaries/wages, the failure of Government to settle all outstanding negotiations, and the diversification of the economy through the maritime sector,” it said.

NATUC said it is of the considered view that the Government is starving these entities of operational funds, paving the way for the privatisation and outsourcing of the entities to friends, financers, and the business elites.

The Union said, however, it would be willing to engage in these talks with the Minister should there be a demonstration of genuine effort to engage the Trade Union Movement in meaningful discussion base on mutual respect, dignity, and trust.

“Any consultation for the Budget must be genuine and based on the willingness by the Minister of Finance and the Government to seriously address the issues affecting the working-class, disadvantage, and the poor.”

NATUC said no amount of mechanical and PR discussion will address the issues presently confronting the working class, the disadvantage, and the poor in Trinidad and Tobago.

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