Watson Duke returns

Duke, along with a group of workers, planned to walk from the Brian Lara Promenade, PoS to the Service Commission Office, Woodford Street, to deliver a letter to the Director of Personnel Administration, Gloria Edwards Joseph, asking her to fill the “11,000 vacancies” in the public sector.

(At a meeting of the Joint Select Committee of the Parliament last Friday Edwards-Joseph said there were approximately 9,000 vacancies). They were also going to deliver the PSA’s proposal for negotiations 2011-2013 to the office of Chief Personnel Officer, Stephanie Lewis, at St Vincent Street.

Addressing workers on the Brian Lara Promenade, Duke said he was determined to bring an end to the inequitable salary situation with public officers. He highlighted the pay disparity between permanent secretaries/deputy permanent secretaries and persons holding the post of chief executive officer in the public sector. He said permanent secretaries were in range 69 while directors and Chief Executive Officers were in range 68. Duke said in the 1980’s the government removed permanent secretaries/and deputy permanent secretaries from range 69. At the time they were “a few hundred dollars” over range 68, but according to Duke there was now a big gap with permanent secretary salaries reaching “$40,000 plus” and persons at range 68 getting salaries of $15,000. “We are determined to put an end to the injustices,” Duke said.

He made it clear to workers that he would sign an agreement whenever they were ready. Referring to last year’s five percent salary increase settlement for 2008-2010 which he was criticised for accepting from government, Duke reminded of the poor turnout at demonstrations.

“When we fighting and asking come and help us with the struggle, they behind their glasses peeping out. (Asking) they pass already, what he say?”

He said after submitting the union’s proposals the CPO had until until June 1 to invite the union to a meeting. Duke took time to criticise President-General of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union, Ancel Roget, who sought a 75 percent increase for Petroleum Company of Trinidad workers and settled for nine percent.

He criticised Roget and others for supporting his opponents when they tried to get him out of office, and OWTU providing them office space (at OWTU Hall on Henry Street). He advised Roget to stay out of PSA business.


"Watson Duke returns"

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