Government Senator James Lambert has praised managing director of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Jearlean John, for preparing a draft note to be taken to the Cabinet which will see pensions given to both monthly and daily-rated workers as stipulated in the HDC Act.
Lambert, head of the National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW), was making his contribution to the budget debate in the Senate on Monday.
He also congratulated Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal and paid special tribute to John for the "magnificent" work done.
Contacted yesterday, John told the Express the note was already prepared and sent to the Housing Ministry.
The next step after Cabinet, she said, was the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) and Central Bank for approval after which the HDC would seek to implement "all things equal" by February 2013.
Lambert said the HDC was the first to offer daily-rated employees nine per cent.
"It is commendable. For over 50 years daily-rated workers have been seeking to get a pension plan, but to no avail. We have tried on several occasions," he said.
He noted that in 1994, the former Patrick Manning People's National Movement (PNM) government had promised the labour movement, particularly, the daily-rated workers, a pension plan but never fulfilled this.
Lambert admitted that when the PNM lost the 2010 general election, he was elated.
"I was very, very happy. One of the happiest days in my life, with due respect to my friends on the other side, was when the PNM government was voted out of power," he said.
He disclosed that he was "under tremendous pressure" during the Manning regime as there were plans to dissolve two Local Government corporations.
Lambert said he was confident that the People's Partnership Government would not do such a thing.
He praised Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for not sending home any workers even when the country was in economic difficulty.
In 1994, he said, when he was a councillor under the PNM, 15,000 daily rated workers were sent home by the Manning administration.
"It took the UNC government, when the snap election was called, to honour some of the agreements, collective bargaining came back, when the ten per cent was taken, COLA was taken, all of that. So the labour movement has suffered under the People's National Movement," said Lambert.
Lambert added that public sector negotiations were due to have started in January 2008, for the period 2008/2010 under the former PNM government but this was never completed.
In two and a half years, he said, the People's Partnership has settled 39 negotiations.