“If you do not speak to this matter between now and December, I am asking all ni**ers, all black people like myself, and watch me good, meh well black, not to support the PNM. Do not do it.”
Watson Duke has raised a firestorm, following the statement made at his PSA headquarters on Abercromy Street in Port of Spain on Monday. The outgoing union leader claims that Public Servants have been awaiting a pay increase for the past six years.
Speaking on an interview on Power 102 Duke tried to justify his use of the N word saying he was referring to him self and the way the government was treating him.
Duke also alleged that the Finance Minister has been stalling, telling them that something has to be taken to the cabinet. “We waited all of May, all of June, all of August and we got nothing. Then we were told to wait until the budget, we are going to hear something,” he said.
He said he was pleased to hear the minister’s budget presentation when he announced a 15 per cent salary increase for CEPEP and URP workers, a ten per cent wage hike for On-the-Job trainees and an increase in the minimum wage, from $15 per hour to $17.50 per hour. However, he was appalled when he realized that no wage increase had been announced for public servants.
Mr. Duke said he contacted the Finance Minister to question the exemption of public servants from the budget’s allocations, however all of his phone calls went unanswered. On Monday, Mr. Duke said he will ensure that Public Servants receive what they deserve before elections. “We want 16 per cent. Sixteen per cent was given to minimum wage,so we are asking for a minimum living wage, which is different from the minimum wage. A minimum living wage, according to the CPO (chief personnel officer) is that which places an employee’s salary where 30 per cent of his salary can pay for a decent place of rest, whether it be a mortgage or rent.”