Education Minister continues facilitating OWTU/UTT discussions
The Honourable Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education, says he is satisfied with the progress that talks between the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) and the Management of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) have taken since assuming the role of facilitator between the two bodies. Last year, Minister Garcia stepped in to advance discussions between the OWTU and UTT after several attempts by the two institutions to meet and agree on a way forward proved futile.
At the latest meeting, convened at the offices of the Ministry of Education on Wednesday, 31st January, 2018, Minister Garcia and members of the Ministry’s Executive team saw proposals presented by the Union. Among the recommendations was restructuring the institution, suggesting the removal of several senior management positions which could result in annual savings of TT$49 million.However, the university’s managementteam led by Professor Clement Imbertstated that there is currently over staffing at all levels of the organization, including senior and middle management as well as at the level of the workers.
"The union put forward proposals and those proposals centered on cutting with respect to senior management staff. The university countered by saying there is over staffing at all levels of the organization, What we have decided therefore was to facilitate a meeting between the union and management so that they could come to some agreement before we meet again," indicated Minister Garcia.
Minister Garcia advised at the beginning of the meeting that this was to be the last one he would have presided over. However, at request of the OWTU President Ancel Roget, Minister Garcia decided to facilitate one last meeting. “It was my intention that this be the last occasion that I was to facilitate such a meeting because I believe that good industrial relations processes are to be followed and the opportunity must be given for both parties to meet.I was simply just acting as a facilitator. However, at the behest of the union it was decided that I should be there for one other meeting, which will take place following the 20th February meeting between the union and UTT”, he said.