In T&T: Kumar: TT has low work ethic

29 June 2012


“ECLAC has rated the Caribbean very low on productivity “it does not mean that the people are lazy.””

Representatives of labour, employers and Government have committed themselves to a social dialogue process that could impact positively on increasing productivity in Trinidad and Tobago (TT) which has been ranked low on the 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Index.

TT was ranked 81 out of 142 countries.

The representatives made their commitment yesterday at the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop on social dialogue for Trinidad and Tobago at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann’s.

Committing themselves to the process were the Employers’ Consultative Association represented by chairman Keston Nancoo; president of the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) Michael Annisette; chief executive officer of the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Catherine Kumar and president of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and Non-Governmental Organisations (FITUN), Joseph Remy.

They all shared the head table with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, newly-appointed Minister of Finance and the Economy Larry Howai and Minister of Labour Errol McLeod.

According to Kumar, one of the most problematic factors affecting productivity and business in TT was “poor work ethic in the national labour force.”

The fact that TT must improve its work ethic and increase productivity levels, Kumar said, has been recognised by all stakeholders.

The social dialogue process, Kumar said, “is not only about the labour environment but all facets that impact on the country’s advancement.”

“It can have,” she said, “a positive impact on reducing crime, another of the chamber’s national area of focus.”

According to Remy, FITUN believes in increasing productivity in TT, but productivity was not the sole responsibility of workers or labour.

He told reporters after the opening that one of the things FITUN was looking forward to “was Government’s view with respect to a wages and income policy.”

No one has engaged the labour movement on this issues, he said, “yet, you are always hearing them harping on the need for workers to improve productivity.”

FITUN was supportive of any move to improve productivity and was committed to the Productivity Council and the social dialogue process, but if the process was going to be just another “talk shop with no positive outcome,” Remy said, he will speak out against it.

International Labour Organisation (ILO) Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Elizabeth Tinoco Acevedo, who addressed the opening, said while the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has rated the Caribbean very low on productivity “it does not mean that the people are lazy.”

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