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Deryck Richardson, President Estate Police Association of Trinidad and Tobago

RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT

The Estate Police Association is hopeful that Finance Minister Colm Imbert will address the issue of transfers of funds from the government to ministries and gives the mandate to the Chief Personnel Officer to engage in negotiations.

The Association’s president Deryck Richardson said the (EPA) is engaged in discussion with employers in both the Public and Private sector, “We like other unions and associations have been met with a stonewall as it pertains to negotiations.”

Richardson disclosed that there are companies working on 2009 salaries such as the T&T Electricity Commission, “who have been offered six per cent while they agreed to ten per cent with the Oilfield Workers Trade Union.”

“There is National Maintenance Training and Security Company (NMTS) who are on 2013 salaries and have some very pressing issues such as an Estate Police Officer receiving the same basic rate as a Security Officer who is supervised by an Estate Police officer and does not carry a firearm or have powers of arrest,” he added.

Richardson claimed that the NMTS has not paid remittances taken from the salaries of the officers to the accounts of the Progressive Credit Union, the Millennium Health Plan for months thereby threatening the health and financial wellbeing of the employees.

“We were informed by the management about three months ago that they are owed over $500 million in transfers from ministries for services rendered, the Association has not received dues deducted from the salaries since May of 2021,” Richardson said.

Other outstanding negotiations are at Central Bank, the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), Port Authority, Chaguaramas Development Authority, Airport Authority, Lake Asphalt, Telecommunications Services of T&T, National Insurance Property Development Company, the University of the West Indies and National Petroleum.

Richardson said the association continues to negotiate with the Private Security companies, who he said, are crying out that they too are severely affected by late payments from government ministries and state enterprises with WASA being the biggest defaulter.

“In an environment of escalating food prices and other goods and an increase in inflation, the Private Security Industry which primarily pay at minimum wage and near minimum wage are severely affected and need increases,” Richardson said.