(Trinidad Guardian) An estimated 300-plus workers are being cut from the University of Trinidad and Tobago. While 57 academic staffers have so far received dismissal letters, an additional 287 non-academic staff members are also expected to be dismissed, Education Minister Anthony Garcia confirmed on Monday.
Garcia was replying to queries in the Senate from UNC Senator Wade Mark on UTT job cuts.
Garcia’s figures signalled an estimated total of 346 staffers will be losing jobs.
Garcia said, “Information from UTT states 59 academic staff are to be dismissed, 57 of which already received dismissal letters. In addition, 287 non-academic staff are expected to be dismissed. Discussions are still ongoing between the Oilfield Workers’ Trade union (OWTU) and the UTT,” Garcia said.
He was also asked about the request for information by the union regarding the 287 to be retrenched.
“As part of the negotiating process, the union has been requesting certain information – bits of information – that has been provided to them. However, I’ve facilitated three meetings in an effort to bring both parties together and at the last meeting I held between the union and UTT, the union had requested some additional bits of information.
“The UTT is now treating with that information and I’ve been assured that in the not-too-distant future that information will be relayed to the union.”
Mark expressed concern at the impact retrenchment of 300-plus workers would have on UTT’s quality of education.
On further Opposition questions about whether the Labour Ministry had been formally notified of the retrenchment exercise – and what assistance is being provided by the ministry to retrenched workers -, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste- Primus said: “Information from UTT states that with regards to the academic staff, they’re not deemed to be workers under the (governing) act which requires reporting to the ministry.”