JTUM Calls For Reversal Of “Unjust” Fuel Price Hike

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JTUM Calls For Reversal Of “Unjust” Fuel Price Hike

The Joint Trade Union Movement is calling on the government to reverse its decision to impose an increase in the price of fuel.

In a statement on Wednesday JTUM strongly condemned this decision which it said will bring an additional burden on the vast majority of the population.

JTUM expressed concern over the timing for introducing the fuel price increase which is due to take effect on Tuesday, April 19th when physical school will reopen for all children.

The statement reads in full: 

The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) calls on the government to reverse its decision to impose even more hardship on the people with their announcement that there will be a fourth increase in the price of fuel.  The price per litre of super, premium gas will be increased by $1.00 and the price of diesel will be increased by 50 cents per litre, effective April 19th, 2022. The JTUM strongly condemns this decision which will bring an additional burden on the vast majority of the population. JTUM has repeatedly warned the country that the poor management of the economy by the government would inevitably lead to greater hardship for the people.

JTUM note with consternation and horror, the timing for introducing this fourth fuel price increase by this government. This will be done on Tuesday 19th when physical school will reopen for all children. Thousands of parents will struggle to find the money to pay for their children to go to school and to put food on the table. If there was ever the worst time to impose this unjust measure it is now. This is coming right after a Pandemic when thousands of people lost their jobs and their income and are now living on a day-to-day salary. People have accumulated a significant amount of arrears on their loans and mortgages with the threat of losing their property and now this unjust measure will further reduce the value of our dollar which is already difficult to come by.  The 1% in this country doesn’t have this problem. Additionally, this increased fuel cost will certainly not affect the government ministers who are imposing this on the people but who are enjoying full allowances, tax breaks and high salaries and many other perks.

JTUM also notes the misinformation that is being touted as the justification for the increase. The Minister of Finance is using comparisons being made with fuel prices of other countries but JTUM wants to draw the country’s attention to the fact that Trinidad and Tobago has one of the lowest Minimum Wage in the region. Not to mention that the countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Aruba, Saint Lucia and Dominica that were used by the Minister of Finance to compare fuel prices are not Oil and Gas producers.

It is clear that the government policy is to attack the poor under the pretext of international conditions whilst saying nothing about how they intend to provide some level of protection for the suffering masses. The fact is that the government has not presented any measures to mitigate the significant impact of the increase in fuel prices. JTUM wishes to remind the population that taxpayers benefit from the subsidy so taking it away means taking away a benefit for ALL taxpayers who now have to pay more at the pump and are therefore left with less disposable income. This is not to mention the knock-on effect of increased prices of food, goods and services. The elusive dream of the government improving services to the people is simply another attempt to fool people into a false sense of comfort.

JTUM reminds the country that the government justified the closure of the refinery in 2018 by promising improved roads, more beds for hospitals and more schools, all of which we as are still waiting. Now the government is attempting to use the same justification to put added pressure on poor people of this country. We are not fooled by that, because had they not shut down Petrotrin and the refinery the country would not be in this predicament today.

The government’s arguments, therefore, mean nothing in real terms to people who could hardly make ends meet and now have to pay more for food, fuel, goods and services just to barely survive.  Whether you own a vehicle or not, you will not escape the burden of this unjust and unfair hike.

JTUM calls on all citizens to join us in our campaign as we fight against this grave injustice. This measure will further pauperize an already burdened population. Whilst ordinary people continue to suffer, big business continues to declare hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. This injustice must come to an end and must be resisted by all means.