CHIEF SECRETARY Farley Augustine has declared his administration’s full support of the labour force in Tobago.
In a Facebook post on Labour Day, Augustine said, “We have always stood on the side of the workers.”
Augustine, the deputy leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), said the party’s roots can be found in the labour movement. “We got our start from (former) trade union leader Watson Solomon Duke, founder and political leader of PDP, and will never forget the role the labour movement played in our uprising on the island of Tobago.”
Duke led the Public Services Association from 2009 to 2021 but was forced to resign after the PDP won the December 6, 2021, THA elections 14-1 against the People’s National Movement.
Augustine added, “Tobago has had a long and storied history of the intertwining the labour movement with politics starting in 1946 when Tobago voted for APT James who represented the Butler Party, to voting for Watson Duke while he was still PSA president.”
He said the new THA administration has improved the lives of workers since taking charge.
“In our first six months in office we have done the following on behalf of workers: increased wages for Cepep by 50.40 per cent on average (50 dollars more per day); pledged to increase URP wages effective July; designed a housing solution for daily-rated workers that can be available at $300,000; made it a policy that the short-term contracts should be replaced with three-year contracts; sought legal advice and have consequently given instructions that all public servants called to act in positions throughout the service be paid their acting (allowance) forthwith; will be hosting the single largest grant home improvement distribution programme in the island’s history on 24 June, 2022 (700-plus grants to be distributed).”
He said URP workers will now enjoy two weeks vacation with salary annually upon completion of 12 months’ service from date of employment. They will also receive 14 days sick leave.