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PSA president Watson Duke addresse members of the media during a press conference at PSA head office Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain ysterday.

Public Services Association (PSA) President Watson Duke is not accepting the assurances from Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales that there are no plans to retrench workers at WASA.

At a media briefing at PSA Headquarters yesterday morning, Duke noted that there has been a huge reduction in the budgetary allocation to WASA.

“I want to let the nation know that there are plans to cut staff at WASA,” he said

Duke referred to a statement made by Finance Minister Colm Imbert during his budget presentation which he claimed triggered all the reports about job cuts at the cash strapped utility. The minister said then that a Cabinet sub-committee will be reviewing the operations of WASA, including its unsustainable debt position.

Duke said WASA, which used to receive a subvention of $1.8 billion, is getting $1.2 billion in 2021.

He asked: “Is there going to be a compromise in manpower?”

The PSA leader wondered how the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) had determined that WASA is overstaffed by 1,500 workers.

He said with a $6 million reduction in funding, the question is how manpower will be affected.

Duke warned that any attempt to reduce staff at WASA will not be treated lightly.

Gonzales, in a presentation to the Standing Finance Committee to the House of Representatives on Monday, said the reduced allocation to WASA does not suggest an intention on the part of the Government to reduce staff..