Clyde Elder

Otto Carrington

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is calling on the Government to settle arrears with state-owned Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) for their members.

Speaking to Guardian Media at their union hall on Henry Street, CWU Secretary General Clyde Elder said the government is owing TSTT $200 million which he said must be used by the state-owned company to pay outstanding arrears.

“We are clamouring for what was owed to us, now the government seems to be reneging on the arrangement but what we are stating here today is that the 500 workers who were retrenched are still owed by the state-owned company”, Elder said.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said in September that TSTT overcharged taxpayers by $300 million for providing cameras to the government.

He did not specify what type of cameras, but in 2016 the Ministry of National Security partnered with TSTT to set up a pilot CCTV/surveillance project.

Elder said the prime minister is using this statement not to pay TSTT for a past matter that has nothing to do with the workers.

“The prime minister noted that in fact, as far as the government is concerned, with the communication with and our relationship with TSTT, the government’s understanding is that debt is of an order of approximately $200 million.”

He called again the government to pay the money that they owe to TSTT. The Secretary-General was among the 500 workers that were retrenched in 2019 after the company made a decision to close retail outlets and branches.

He added that about 200 TSTT re­tirees are trying to sur­vive on less than $1,000 in pen­sion per month.

Elder called on the company to come clean on what are its plans for the pension plan.

“We are still calling on the government to please intervene into these affairs in TSTT and ensure that workers and the members of public and the retirees especially are treated fairly”, Elder stated.