Employers must do the right thing


The Chamber of Commerce, the organisation representing the business elites in this country, has stated: ‘We have been fearlessly advocating for the enactment, proclamation and enforcement of legislation to address issues related to procurement, freedom of information, campaign finance reform and whistleblower protection.’

They go on to say they ‘encourage any individual who is asked to pay a bribe or who is offered a bribe to report it immediately to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service so that the necessary action can take place’.

Wow! One would think after reading such a powerful statement that our business elites frown upon lawbreaking and do not tolerate it within their ranks; that they would fearlessly advocate that those among them who allegedly commit unlawful acts be dealt with by the law.

Alas, one couldn’t be more wrong. Have you ever heard that the chamber has launched a campaign to report to the police those among them who allegedly rip off workers’ NIS contributions and fail to remit them to the NIB? After all, that is wage theft, and the employer who does it is a bigger bandit than the street thug, in that they rip off scores of people on an ongoing basis, week after week, without breaking a sweat and without putting themselves in the line of fire.

The National Workers Union, in our campaign for justice for workers who have had their NI contributions allegedly stolen, who have suffered the indignity of no pay for months, of short pay, of violations of the minimum wage orders as to vacation leave and overtime-we have written to numerous employer organisations, including the chamber.

We have reminded them that under Section 40 of the National Insurance Act, an employer who fails or neglects to pay or effect payment of contributions is committing a criminal offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of $4,000 and six months’ imprisonment.

We have called on all employer organisations to take the necessary steps to ensure employers comply with the provisions of the National Insurance Act.

You think they have we to take on? But we want to ensure that when the dam of frustration and exploitation buss, they can’t say they didn’t know what going on.

We really don’t expect Satan to correct sin, but they can’t say if ah did know… if ah did know. Meanwhile, we will continue to name them and shame them.

Gerry Kangalee
Education and Research Officer – National Workers Union