$69 denigrating wage for workers
OILFIELDS Workers' Trade Union president Ancel Roget said yesterday that paying people $69 for one day of work was "denigrating" even if the government said earlier the $69 wage was for only four hours of work a day.
Participants of Government's newly-launched "People and Projects for Progress" on Monday protested the $69 payment they were offered, saying it was too low.
The programme was launched by National Security Minister Jack Warner last Wednesday at the St Paul Street Gymnasium as a way to create jobs and reduce poverty and crime in the district.
Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan said, "what was being offered was on par with other part-time jobs under his ministry." While attending a meeting at the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation on Tuesday, Rambachan told reporters:
"It is not $69 per day, and we expect a URP (Unemployment Relief Programme) worker to give four hours of work," he said.
He explained that labourers were to be paid $17.25 an hour, which was $5 more than the minimum wage.
"As far as I know, CEPEP workers get $89 a day and they work six hours a day. Nobody told them they are going to work eight hours a day and get paid $69. It is for four hours."
Speaking to reporters during a walkabout in Port of Spain yesterday Roget said:
"We have placed in the public domain, with the Minister of Labour, what has been described as the workers agenda and the workers agenda defines decent work, job security and decent pay, liveable wage and so on and certainly $69 is not nearly anything close to that."
Roget said, "He believed the decision to pay such a low salary is a means to exploit a situation." You cannot have the same Jack Warner going up and trying for political expediency, promising them the moon and the stars and showing them less. So we support the call for decent jobs for people in Laventille just as we support the call for people throughout the country," he said.