The fact that more than half of the positions at the Occupational Health and Safety Agency are vacant to date is a continuation of this Government’s war against workers, and the interests of employees in this country according to Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo.
Tancoo was commenting on revelations at yesterday’s sitting of the House of Representatives at which the Minister of Labour admitted that 88 positions of the 152 posts on the establishment of the OSHA have no employees. The OSHA was created when the OSH Act of 2004 was amended in 2006 and is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the safety, health and welfare of workers at their jobs and applies to every employer and employee in Trinidad and Tobago.
Tancoo cautioned that “This under-resourcing severely compromises the ability of the OSH Agency to monitor safety standards for workers which significantly puts workers lives at risk, especially in industrial settings. Worse, it directly sabotages the Agency’s ability to investigate and determine the cause and liability of accidents even when there is loss of life as has happened at Paria recently.”
Tancoo noted that it was ironic that while there were so many vacancies at the OSH Agency, there are many suitably qualified individuals desperately seeking jobs in the sector. “The anti-worker policy of this government is obvious from their failure to engage tripartite discussions, refusal to settle long outstanding wage negotiations and the open confrontation and undermining of trade unions. But for the government to preside over a situation in which the safety and lives of workers are put at risk is unacceptable and must be condemned!” said Tancoo.
Further, he declared, the development of the country, and the transformation of our economy away from its dependence on falling gas and oil production necessitates a well trained workforce in safe working environment.
This alarming situation is yet another act of war against workers by this callous government said Tancoo who called on workers to demand that immediate action be taken to fill these vacancies and so protect their lives and livelihoods.
Tancoo declared “No more workers should have to be injured or lose their lives on the job because of this understaffing. Enough is enough.”