Fitun condemns economist's call for public sector wage freeze; demands apology

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 20:00

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Non-Governmental Organizations, FITUN is today condemning a call made by Economist, Dr Roger Hosein, for a wage freeze across the entire public sector, calling it an attack on the working class.

FITUN says Dr Hosein must apologise for his statement, saying the burden of the economic adjustments the country is making, should not be placed on the already burdened working class.

The following is FITUN's full statement.

"The Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Non-Governmental Organizations, FITUN, would like to publicly condemn the broad scale attack on the livelihood of workers in Trinidad and Tobago by controversial Economist, Dr. Roger Hosein. 

In another of his attacks on the working class, Dr. Hosein has advised the Government that they should take a cue from the National Gas Company and institute a Wage Freeze across the Public and Private Sector. This advice having being publicly done by a leading Economist at the UWI, can only prejudice any discussion that may take place between the Government, Business and Labour as the Country is now reeling from the mis-management of the Economy by successive Governments.

What is quite disingenuous about this call by Dr. Hosein is the fact that this Economist was not publicly condemning the previous Government when they were engaging in mass squander mania and the rape of the Treasury over the past five (5) years. There was no call for the then Government to stop wasting and corruptly siphoning away state resources into the pockets of their friends, supporters and cronies. As usual, Dr. Hosein and some other professionals in academia, only make noise about adjustment when the economy is in serious challenges and when they want the much beleaguered working class and the less possessed in society to bear the full brunt of adjustment policies. This they want to happen to ensure that they maintain their life of opulence and class differentiation.

FITN expresses its support for the CWU and the other members of the Joint Trade Union Movement in their condemnation of the unilateral approach to the implementation of wage and benefits restraint at the NGC. We condemn the call by Dr. Hosein for such a broad scale restraint since over the years we have been publicly calling for a policy on price control and Executive Wage control. We are convinced based on our research that the Wage differential between

Executive Pay and ordinary workers pay has mushroomed over the years and has reached obscene proportions. In addition, the purchasing power of the ordinary worker dollar has shrunk to poverty level proportions, as such, while the Executives live of the fat of the Land, poor workers are bearing the brunt of economic activity with a shrinking dollar.

We demand that Dr. Hosein apologize to all workers of the Country and refrain from making such aggravated and vexatious pronouncements as we all seek to steady a sinking Trinidad and Tobago Ship. At this critical time when our country is facing serious economic and social challenges, albeit not brought on by the working class and the less possessed, good sense must prevail and there must not be any attempt to place all the burdens of adjustments on the shoulders of the already burdened working class and the less possessed in society.

While we seek mature discourse on a way forward, we would not abandon our commitment to the fearless defence of the rights of workers and the upliftrnent of the standard of living for those less possessed in society . We commit to stand in their defence without fear or favour as we continue our quest for equity and social justice."