The Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) is calling on the Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe to resign over failure to present a tourism policy in the 18 months she has been in office.
Secretary General of the union Joseph Remy said the Prime Minister must rein in his non-performing tourism minister.
Remy spoke yesterday at a media conference held at Barataria Sportsplex. His statement comes after the decision by the Government to dissolve the Tourism Development Company (TDC) and split it into two companies, one for Trinidad’s tourism and another for Tobago.
Remy demanded that the decision be put on hold and the union be consulted and said it was done with “deceit, disrespect and deception.”
“There was no consultation with us, with the workers or anybody prior to this decision being made. We have heard media reports of other stakeholders and of no consultation being made with them. This decision will impact the jobs of 120 bargaining unit workers at the TDC and that will have attendant socio economic fallout. That is the hallmark of an uncaring government,” he said.
On Saturday, in a paid advertisement, the CWU said the decision is meant to hurt the workers and union and called it “anti union.”
On Thursday, Cudjoe announced at the post-Cabinet press briefing in Tobago, that Cabinet agreed to dissolve the company and establish two entities—one focussing on Tobago and the other on Trinidad.
Cudjoe said the decision was not immediate as the process would have to be done in accordance with law.
“There was no consultation with the CWU which is the legally recognised, majority union for two bargaining units at the TDC. The CWU has recently submitted proposals for two collective agreements for the two bargaining units of the TDC. We have not had any counter-proposals from the company as yet,” Remy said.
He said they held a meeting with the Minister of Labour, Jennifer Baptiste-Primus on December 1, 2016, and there was no indication that the company was going to be dissolved.
Remy said last Thursday at 1.14 pm he received a call from a number he had never seen before and when he answered the call it was the tourism minister who indicated that the Cabinet took a decision to dissolve the TDC.
The conversation lasted one minute and 48 seconds, he said.
“Under Section 40 of the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) there is an obligation to meet and treat in good faith with the recognised majority union for any issue relevant to collective bargaining. The minster had an obligation to meet and treat in good faith. She has violated the provisions of that act.”
Michelle Lewis, a branch officer of the CWU, who also spoke at the media conference, fought back tears as she spoke of the financial difficulties that many workers and their families will face if they are thrown on the breadline. “Will you, Minister Cudjoe, be providing for all our needs? Where is the data to justify this decision?” she asked.