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Ministry: 2,630 workers retrenched
The number of people identified in retrenchment notices submitted to the Labour Ministry from September 2015 to this month stands at a total of 2,630, the ministry has confirmed.
The ministry provided the figures in response to queries.
Last Thursday, Labour Minister, Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, had told the T&T Guardian’s political column the figure from late 2015 to around May was approximately 2,500 and she would have subsequently given the final official figure.
The ministry subsequently provided the final figure of 2,630 applying from September 2015 to June 2017.
The ministry stated the number of those retrenched from September 2015 to September 16, was 1,865, based on notices received by the ministry. In February 2016, Baptiste-Primus had said 846 had been retrenched up to then.
Baptiste-Primus explained that the ministry had figures, excluding numbers of less than five people retrenched from any entity. For numbers under five who were retrenched, an entity didn’t need to submit notices to the ministry, she noted.
According to the ministry’s figures, between January to December 2015, the total number of notices sent to the ministry regarding retrenched people was 1,721.
Largest number of retrenchments then was in October mainly in the construction and financing/business services/real estate sectors.
For January to December 2016, the total number of notices was 1,315. The largest number of notices were issued in May 2016 mainly for the petroleum/gas production/refining/service contractors sectors.
From January to June 2017 the number of notices was 465. Largest number was in April pertaining to the petroleum and financing sectors.
Baptiste-Primus noted there are 22 pieces of legislation under the Labour Ministry. Government is expediting labour law revision, prioritising Industrial Relations and Retrenchment and Severance Benefit legislation.
On new legislation mandating that workers must enjoy specific basic terms and conditions, Baptiste-Primus said employers associations have sought more time to examine this.
She said Cabinet has also received reports on reducing contract dependency in the public sector and state enterprise/private sectors.
“Contract labour has ballooned. But once work is of continuous nature, there’s need for permanent employment rather than contract. It may not necessarily mean more jobs, but jobs will be of permanent nature. For example in the public sector, we need to de-suppress existing permanent public sector there.”
In the case of the private sector, she added, “moral suasion” has to be employed.
While Baptiste-Primus disputes UNC MP Rudy Indarsingh’s estimate that 25 ,000 to 30,000 people have lost jobs between 2015 to 2017, Indarsingh says.
“Contrary to Government’s Labour Day message from Public Administration’s Maxie Cuffie— that Government is committed to working closely with the trade union movement to ensure workers’ rights are respected— exactly the opposite is happening.”
“The Prime Minister and the Ministers of Finance, Energy, Public Utilities and the Agriculture must explain how many more thousands will be forced on the breadline due to impending closure of the Board of Inland Revenue and Customs/Excise with the coming of the T&T Revenue Authority and restructuring of Petrotrin, Agricultural Development Bank, NAMDEVCO and TSTT (following acquisition of Massy Communications).”
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