Tuesday, January 16, 2018

McLeod must go

Duke: Worst labour leader ever...

President of the Public Services Association (PSA) Watson Duke is prepared to contemplate a “real march” to have acting Prime Minister Errol McLeod removed from Government. 

Duke said, “While I do not always agree with Ancel Roget (OWTU president general), I agree he (McLeod) is the worst labour leader ever. And he is trying to use scare tactics. 

“We may have to contemplate a real march to remove Errol McLeod if he continues with that action. My advice to him is relax and do not interfere in the lives of the working class. If he seeks to enforce that injunction (for immigration workers to return to work) we will not obey it anyway.” 

Duke made these comments yesterday during a news conference at PSA headquarters at Abercromby Street, Port of Spain flanked by first vice-president Christopher Joefield and second vice-president Ian Murray.  

Duke also said he wants the State to create an “oversight committee” comprising ten members from its team and another five from the PSA to look into the upgrade and refurbishing of Immigration offices in San Fernando and Port of Spain. 

The Immigration Office has not been functioning at its full capacity for several weeks due to the ongoing industrial action. A small number of people were however able to get passports at the Port of Spain office which was opened till 3 p.m. yesterday.   

Acting on the advice of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, McLeod filed for an injunction restraining the employees from engaging in further protest action last Thursday and was granted it by the Industrial Court.  

According to Duke, McLeod was disrespectful to the Occupational Safety and Health Authority inspectors by labelling their findings on the shortcomings at Immigration Office, at Frederick Street, Port of Spain, “as frivolous”.

On Wednesday, Duke had called upon McLeod to “remove the unjust...provocative injunction.” Yesterday, he  said he was offering a solution and not a big stick like McLeod. 

“Many of the workers are genuinely  sick and retarded in their productivity.  My wish is for the employer to create an oversight committee  of five members of the State and five members of the PSA to look into the refurbishment and re-establishment to ensure the health of all immigration buildings at South and Port of Spain,” he said.

Duke added, “ Their role will be to develop and agree on a priority list of health and safety concerns. It should be responsible for overseeing  the move from the current buildings to the Government Campus plaza. It will list  a number of critical effects and to oversee, and, perhaps monitor works in a way to ensure compliance.  

“The State must come forward and prioritise and meet with members. Everyone has a  health and safety individual right. .... We stand ready and willing to talk. If he seeks to enforce that injunction, we will not obey it.”