Union leaders led thousands of workers through the streets of Port of Spain on Friday warning the Kamla Persad Bissessar administration that all hell will break loose in the country if it introduces any austerity measure to deal with the economy.
President of the Banking, Industrial and General Workers Union (BIGWU), Vincent Caberra said the four-party coalition administration was adamant on maintaining a five per cent wage cap within the public service and state institutions.
Today continues the struggle we have been raising against the government on behalf of the workers and people of this country.
Although the government has said belatedly there is no five per cent cap, we in the trade unions are saying ... there is a five per cent cap on the negotiating table, Caberra told reporters. He added that his union is involved with a number of state agencies and institutions where only three per cent is on the table.
Caberra said this is a matter of social justice. It is unfair, it is wrong, it totally unjustified in these times to be asking workers to accept five per cent and simply on the grounds of economic necessity.
According to the union president, as far as I am concerned the country and the companies are all making huge profits and that they can afford to pay the workers who provide these profits, they can afford to pay them more.
All hell is going to break loose if this government comes with an austerity programme which will push the working class further into poverty. We dont want to seem unreasonable, but ... if we have to be unreasonable we will be unreasonable because we are not sitting idly by and accepting austerity programme in Trinidad and Tobago, he said.
Caberra joined leaders of the 12 other trade unions that form the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) in the march through the streets of the capital under the watchful eyes of police officers who had earlier prevented the unions from using a music truck to accompany the protestors.