Government of Trinidad and

Minister of Labour's message in commemoration of Labour Day 2019

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago - Wednesday 19 June 2019

Please see below Senator the Honourable Jennifer Baptiste Primus' message in commemoration of Labour Day 2019. 

 "My Fellow Citizens,

A Happy Labour Day Greeting to you all.

In my Labour Day Message to you, one (1) year ago, I shared with you an overview of the work which was being undertaken in my Ministry in pursuit of improving the overall quality of life of the working population of our Nation.

Today, as we celebrate yet another day of triumph for working class citizens, we can all take comfort in the fact that considerable progress has been made on a number of these initiatives, the efforts of which are expected to bear fruit imminently.

My expectation is that before the end of 2019, legislation will be taken to Parliament to give effect to Amendments to the Trade Union Act, the Industrial Relations Act (IRA), the Workmen's Compensation Act (WCA), the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act (RSBA) and the Cipriani College of Labour & Co-Operative Studies Act (CCLCSA).These will be closely followed by several other initiatives, policy position papers on which have already been prepared for presentation to Cabinet. Among them are review of the Employment Exchange Act (EEA) and the development of standards for recruitment and employment of workers. The Ministry is also engaged in studies to eliminate abuses associated with child labour, HIV and AIDS in the workplace, gender equality and sexual abuse in the workplace simultaneously as we press forward toward enhancing the employability of the youth of Trinidad and Tobago.

To date, twenty-one (21) historic public consultations have been held all aimed at ensuring stakeholder involvement and participation in these reform initiatives.

Moreover, the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development is at an advanced stage of progressing its Ten Point Plan: a Programme specifically designed to facilitate workers whose services have been terminated due to redundancy, receivership or insolvency. The Plan is intended to assist in the transitioning of affected workers between jobs.

Working in collaboration with appropriate external agencies, the Ten Point Plan seeks to negotiate the best terms possible for Training, Retraining and Up skilling of retrenched workers both for return to general employment and for employment as Technical and Vocation Teachers. Provision is also being made for psychological and financial counselling where required, assistance in the Formation of Small Businesses and Co-operatives, provision of seed capital and start-up business financing and seeking support from Financial Institutions (i.e. Banks, Credit Unions, Mortgage Companies and Insurance Companies) with a view to temporary restructuring of Loans, Mortgages, Insurance premiums on behalf of the affected workers and last but by no means least assistance in Exploration of Overseas Employment.

We have been able to honour our undertaking to keep this nation away from the stranglehold of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) principally due to sound management of the country's financial and economic resources and fully and abundantly appreciative of the range of sacrifices which you, the citizenry, have had to offer up as we all held the fort in search of the better tomorrow which now lies ahead.

On this momentous occasion, I join the national community in celebrating Labour Day 2019. I especially salute my comrades, the leaders and membership of the trade union movement and pray that in the midst of their celebrations , they find some time to pause and reflect on what has so far been valiantly accomplished and what still remains to be attained.

Long live the Trade Union Movement ofTrinidad and Tobago! A Happy Labour Day to all and May Almighty God continue to shower His bountiful blessings upon our Nation .

Senator the Honourable Jennifer Baptiste Primus
Minister of Labour and Small Enterprise Development"

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