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Labour unions in Trinidad and Tobago prepare for economic shutdown

Caribbean Net News | August 26, 2008

Labour unions in Trinidad and Tobago prepare for economic shutdown

By Stephen Cummings

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad: Labour unions in Trinidad and Tobago are gearing up for a nationwide shut down of the country on September 8.

Thousands of members comprising the various bodies are now protesting what they say are issues of rising crime uncontrollable food prices and increasing violence in the country.

They are calling on the Patrick Manning administration to implement immediate measures to deal with the nation’s social ills.

David Abdullah, President of FITUN, one of the major union bodies told local journalists that they have had enough of the economic situation, a situation which he said continues to deepen the plight of the less fortunate and vulnerable in the society.

One other member said the nation and the government could expect a virtual shut down on September 8.

Meanwhile, the unions are also calling for the Trinidad and Tobago not to rush into signing the Economic Partnership Agreement, (EPA).

Abdullah says that there is need for a negotiating and a review clause to be included in the agreement. He believes that the government should not sign on in its present form.

The EPA is an instrument involving trade partnerships, that builds on the Cotonou Agreement which replaced the Lomé Agreement, the standard trade arrangement for EU-ACP relations since the 1970s.
The EPA is also designed to help Cariforum nations to reduce poverty and achieve economic growth through sustainable trade with Europe.

Despite concerns raised, the Trinidad and Tobago government has indicated that it will sign, which is expected to be done before the end of this year.

 source: Caribbean Net News