The Employers Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ECA) underscores that the safety and security of employees should never be placed in a position of compromise. This is a basic tenet of the employment relationship and good industrial relations practice that prudent employers should always maintain.

However, the ECA condemns the recent strike action by the OWTU and its members as irresponsible and a danger to the nation’s current recovery and development efforts.

The ECA submits that this is a time when we urgently need a collaborative effort to rebuild our economy and where all stakeholders, including citizens are making the necessary sacrifices to ensure that our country can weather the severe storm and survive. It is therefore unfortunate that the country’s primary income generating resource has now been placed in a precarious and unstable state of affairs and the ECA fears that this will only exacerbate the already untenable reality which the country is facing. Amidst multiply cries from all fronts - government, labour, employers - to “put country first” the ECA is asking for deeper reflection from this significant Labour union on the consequences of such actions.

The ECA is therefore making a strong appeal for both parties to engage in the necessary discourse to resolve their differences in a reasonable manner and within the shortest possible timeframe to minimise the effects of such a massive shutdown in this critical industry. Our focus at this time should be productive work where employees are given the necessary resources within a safe environment to work so that employers can realise the output necessary to be productive and profitable and to continue contributing to the socioeconomic well-being of Trinidad and Tobago. Let us endeavour to reverse the trend in recent statistics published by the World Economic Forum in their 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Report, which shows Trinidad and Tobago ranked at 137th out of 138 countries in terms of Cooperation in Labour/Employer Relations.

Come on Guys, we can and must do better…for our country’s sake.