Head of Trinidad and Tobago Fire Services Association calls wage increase ‘woefully inadequate’


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Commenting on the four per cent wage hike proposed on Wednesday by Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) Dr Daryl Dindial, Trinidad and Tobago Fire Services Association head Leo Ramkissoon said the proposal was ‘disappointing’.

Speaking to Newsday after meeting with Dindial, Ramikssoon noted that whilst the increase was an improvement of the CPO’s previous offer of two per cent (to all public sector workers) but fell short of the 15 per cent sought by the association.

He told Newsday: “What was offered was two per cent in 2016 and two per cent in 2019. The remainder of the years is zero, zero, zero, zero. It is a four per cent over six years.

“It is an improvement from the initial offer of two percent over eight years.

“But it is woefully inadequate in meeting the buying power which would have eroded well by over 40 per cent.”

He said the association will now respond to the CPO and then move the negotiating process forward and that the association was unfazed by the CPO allegedly saying that any failure of these negotiations would lead to the matter ending up in court, adding: “There is always the court of public opinion.”

On the sought after 15 per cent rise, Ramikssoon said under the Industrial Relations Act, his association would calculate their due wage-hike based on other workers such as estate police in the public sector, in bodies such as TTEC, TSTT and the Airport Authority. “Based on the average market shift for a comparable period, you can the market in TT had on average a 15 per cent market shift, a 15 per cent shift in salaries over that period,” he explained.

He added: “We are hoping the government really maintains dialogue and continues to negotiate in good faith. I must admit that starting off at this point does not lend itself to a very promising process, but we are still hoping good sense will prevail and the State will take on board all of the circumstances that employees face and treat with us fairly.”

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