Couva South MP, Rudy Indarisingh, is calling on the management of Caribbean Airlines (CAL) to indicate whether their decision to cut staff had the full approval of the CAL Board, the line Minister, the Minister of Finance, the Cabinet and the Prime Minister
Indarsingh posed the question in light of the shocking announcement on Monday that CAL will be putting 450 workers on the breadline.
The Opposition MP said this sends shudders through an already battered economy, which has been abused by Keith Rowley and his functionally lethargic government.
He said “Mere months ago, this Government was boasting that Caribbean Airlines has made a positive financial turnaround. Now, even as every member of this Cabinet keeps their jobs with full pay, they are firing workers who have been victims of the mismanagement of the company.”
“It was this administration who hired Chief Executive Officer Garvin Madiera, who upon assuming duties at CAL, went on a spree hiring his friends at the airline.
It was this administration who entered a deal with Air Jamaica, knowing full well the limited financial capacity of the airline and the liabilities that Air Jamaica brought with it, and the impact that such liabilities would have had at CAL.”
Indarsingh added, “It was this PNM ‘administration’ who discontinued flights to London, knowing full well the value of having a direct flight to a major European destination.
The failure of this Government to pursue an aggressive vaccination drive that would have led to the re-opening of the country’s economy and travel to Trinidad and Tobago decimated the potential revenue which could have been earned by the company over the past few months.”
He said “This Government refused to bring stranded foreign nationals back home. CAL could have earned revenue from the operation of repatriation flights for our citizens, and such revenue could have gone toward saving the livelihoods of CAL workers.
It is instructive to note that while CAL is sending home workers, other Caribbean states are re-opening their borders to tourists and business travellers as their Government, unlike the PNM, pursued aggressive vaccination policies.”
The prolonged salary cuts for staff, while the Minister of Finance received his full salary made a mockery of the staff, as they shouldered trying times as a result of the Minister’s signature incompetence and laissez-faire approach to the critical issues at the company.”
“With many of its operations outsourced to other service providers, where would these 450 cuts come from? Is the Government intending to hire the service of private service providers to execute the functions of staff to be fired? How will the State afford to do such? Does the Government intend to downsize CAL’s fleet, and renegotiate lease agreements with the owners of CAL aircraft?,” asked Indarsingh.
He said “This Prime Minister promised that public employees would be safe from being put on the breadline, yet CAL employees find themselves in similar traumatic positions as workers from Petrotrin, UTT, TTHTI and other agencies beaten and abused by the Government, despite promises of protection.”
“Given recent fiascos regarding salary cuts at CEPEP and disconnection drives at WASA, I am calling on the management of CAL to indicate whether this decision to cut staff at CAL had the full approval of the CAL Board, the line Minister, the Minister of Finance, the Cabinet and the Prime Minister. We have seen in the instances of CEPEP and WASA where the Cabinet distances themselves from the actions of those companies, and lament the possibility the Prime Minister and Cabinet may seek to distance themselves from this latest fiasco.”
He said “The Opposition stands with the 450 affected workers at CAL and their families who will be unemployed as a result of Keith Rowley’s inability and unwillingness to responsibly manage the economy in a prosperous manner and to pursue a proper vaccination and reopening strategy.”