Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday in her Labour Day message that since its election to office her Government has satisfactorily settled many problematic labour issues.
Persad-Bissessar said, “It is to the credit of the People’s Partnership Government that I can proudly attest to the satisfactory settlement of at least 75 collective labour agreements during our tenure. Some of those issues had been outstanding and problematic for years prior to our election to office.
“Today, as we celebrate the rights of workers, we can be grateful that our economy, as our nation’s experts testify, is growing in sustainability with foreign investment at its highest level in years. Our economy is expected to maintain a positive momentum to the end of the calendar year, 2014, with further growth forecast for 2015.
“My Government, with the collaboration of our workers, has increased economic diversification in non-energy sectors and growth has been driven to a large extent by aggressive fiscal stimulus programmes.
“Trinidad and Tobago enjoys a privileged international credit standing, confirmed by major global authorities who base their findings on our relatively high income levels, our large and diversified energy sector, and the expansion of economic activity in the non-energy sector.
“I am delighted also to confirm that the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund has accumulated a balance in excess of 20 per cent of Trinidad and Tobago’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We have reason to be satisfied that, as a people, we have arrived at that level position in our unfolding history.
“Our projected plans indicate that approximately 30,000 new jobs are expected to be created over the next seven years if we continue on the smart track to success. Our Government is pro-labour and holds itself responsible for advancing the rights of all our workers. This is a shared responsibility and when workers and their representatives acknowledge their role in this regard we aspire and achieve together. Our Government’s goal as well as labour’s goal is the same: prosperity for all!
“As we celebrate this special holiday, on behalf of my Government, I should like to reaffirm my commitment to protecting the rights of all workers, as we work together to improve the work conditions and enhance the benefits of our most precious resource, labour; the true capital of our country. We will continue to govern fairly and manage the resources of our country responsibly and equitably in the interests of our entire population.
“The greater good will be uppermost in our minds and take precedence over political expediency and partisanship. We count on labour to be equal partners always in our ongoing efforts to do the right thing at the right time. Let us work together in a spirit of mutual respect to build a stronger and better nation.
“Let us, by using effective means of communication, express our concerns, resolve our differences, and realise our fullest potential in an environment of mutual respect. I have full confidence that united we can stand strong in our diversity but, divided, we will fail in our efforts to promote the national cause: the best for everyone all the time.”
—See Pages 9, 24 and 25