• 14 APR 2016

Post Cabinet Briefing Summary – Thursday 14th April, 2016

The Minister of Public Administration and Communications, the Honourable Maxie Cuffie, hosted the Post Cabinet Press Briefing today (Thursday 14th April, 2016) at the Office of the Prime Minister, St. Clair, Port of Spain.

At the briefing, the Minister of Labour and Small Enterprise Development, Senator Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, offered clarification of a statement made by the General Secretary of the National Trade Union Centre of Trinidad and Tobago (NATUC), Mr. Michael Annisette, during a workshop on the theme “Contract Labour: Reducing the Dependency” yesterday (Wednesday 13th April, 2016).

During a panel discussion, Mr. Annisette stated that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has the legal ability to pay severance and retrenchment benefits to the workers of ArcelorMittal under the Companies Act. The Minister of Labour subsequently sought legal advice on the accuracy of that statement and was informed that the Privy Council’s decision in the case of Singh established that severance and retrenchment benefits are not payable in the course of liquidation as is the case with ArcelorMittal.

Senator Jennifer Baptiste-Primus was also informed that ArcelorMittal has paid all monies ordered by the Industrial Court arising out of the last judgement against the steel company as well as the associated fine at the end of March 2016.

Additionally, the CEO of ArcelorMittal informed the Minister of the appointment of Mr Chris Kelshall as the liquidator. This follows an undertaking which was adopted during a meeting with the President and executive officers of the Steel Workers Union of Trinidad & Tobago (SWUTT), ArcelorMittal and the Minister of Labour before the liquidation. At this meeting, ArcelorMittal committed to inform the Minister of Labour and Small Enterprise Development as well as SWUTT of the name of the liquidator, the telephone contact of the liquidator as well as the process to be used to by the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) in refunding the workers under the savings plan.

ArcelorMittal also confirmed that they contacted an official of the UTC’s Couva branch who advised them that all income tax calculations and information, as it pertains to the company’s former workers, would be sent and that the UTC will process the cheques for all members of the savings plan in a week’s time. Based on this affirmation, the Minister of Labour estimates that former ArcelorMittal employees can expect to receive monies from the saving plan at the end of this week or early next week.