JTUM calls for $30 minimum wage and reduction in fuel cost

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JTUM calls for $30 minimum wage and reduction in fuel cost

The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM), has called for the mi­nimum wage to be increased from $17.50 to $30 an hour.

JTUM leader and presi­dent general of the Oilfields Wor­kers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget, speaking during Labour Day activi­ties at Charlie King Junction, Fyzabad, yesterday, called on the member­ship of the trade unions pre­sent and other minimum-­wage earners to stand with the labour movement as they demand that workers be treated with dignity and respect.

He said nobody in the country should be working for less than $30 an hour.

Roget said: “For this Government, it is a good thing to pay you menial wages, but at the same time pay a chief executive offi­cer in Heritage (Petroleum Company) over $180,000 a month, and that is even without perks.

“It’s okay for banks to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in profit. It’s okay for the one per cent to make billions of dollars in profit. It’s okay for this Government to give their friends multimillion-­dollar contracts. But for this Government, it is not okay for workers who turn the wheels of the economy to receive a decent wage,” Roget lamented.

The JTUM leader also demanded a reduction in fuel at the pumps.

“With every fuel increase, there is always the knock-on effect of a further increase in the cost of living. On every occasion they increase the price of fuel, they tell you that our fuel price must reflect the market. Meaning when the price of oil goes up, you pay more, and when the price of oil goes down, you pay less at the pumps,” he said.

Roget also touched on the rising crime, saying the country is now under siege where citizens are living in fear, where people believe that at any minute, they can be a victim of serious crime or murder.

“People truly believe that this Government is hopeless and helpless in protecting them. This country has become a very risky place to live, but let’s be clear, Trini­dad and Tobago has now become a risky place to live under a Rowley-led Government,” Roget complained.

He also accused Government of being on a vicious and evil campaign to remove trade unions, to reduce terms and conditions that were fought for and won.

“We warned that there will be an increase in fuel costs which would mean more price increases in food, transport and goods and services. We warned that there will be an even greater shortage of foreign exchange for the country with the closure of Petrotrin,” Roget said.

He said the public should not be fooled by road-paving exercises around election time as roads cannot be fixed quickly since with the closure of Petrotrin, there is no bitumen, one of the main materials used in road repairs and road paving.

“While Petrotrin would have been producing bitumen for our country’s roads and export, they now have to import the bitumen at great expense, with a drain on our already scarce foreign exchange.

“Once again, the rush to repair the roads is just an election ploy to fool you, the people. And now, pay close attention to the poor quali­ty of road paving and how they are very selective about which roads to pave,” Roget said.

(photo from Trinidad Express)