National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW) leader, Senator James Lambert yesterday said he will accept nine per cent for daily rated workers at the Regional Health Authorities, once the offer is made to him. Lambert made the announcement at a media conference at the union's office on Henry Street, Port of Spain yesterday.
Lambert said he spoke with the Minister of Health, Dr Fuad Khan and while they both agreed on the nine per cent wage offer, the NUGFW still faced a five per cent offer on the negotiation table.
"But we, as NUGFW, will accept nine per cent if it is offered," he said.
Lambert said the Chief Personnel Office was a "hindrance" to the negotiations.
"It is a hindrance to productivity. While the CPO is still deemed to be the employer, they go nowhere, they stay in their office and most of time they disagree with everything," he said.
Lambert said he was appealing to the Government and specifically the Minister of Labour to intervene and amend the Industrial Relations Act to remove the CPO as the employer of the workers.
"Certain unions were able to break barriers and a nine per cent was accepted so we know nine per cent was tabled and we are ready to accept nine per cent," he said.
He said negotiations with the Water and Sewerage Authority settled at a dollar value and not a percentage.
Lambert also distanced himself from the recent statements made by the Joint Trade Union Movement, even saying that he was no longer a member of that labour amalgamation. Lambert replaced Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader David Abdulah who resigned his senatorship on June 17 and pulled his labour party out of the Government.
"I am fully aware of what is going on in the trade union movement, but I want to make it abundantly clear that NUGFW leadership will not be misled, we are here to lead. I have stopped attending meetings of the JTUM," he said.
"The JTUM is not an institution or organisation. During the period when some of them accepted nine per cent, we had no business of going back there. We are a member of Natuc," he said.
He thanked Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the senatorial appointment, saying he was a member of the United National Congress (UNC).
"I am always of the view that it is better to be inside than to be outside. Because when you not inside and the rain fall you will get wet," he said.