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Opposition leader: We are going to abolish NESDEC

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Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said that he intends to abolish the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDEC), should his party form government after the next general elections.{{more}}

Eustace first raised the issue at the NDP’s convention earlier this year. He also touched on the matter briefly last Thursday, October 7, during a town hall meeting.

He, however, expanded on the issue on Monday October 11, during the ‘New Times’ radio program.

“We are going to abolish NESDEC,” Eustace said.

“A lot of people, like trade union leaders, meet with government to discuss policies,” he continued.

Eustace contended, however, that such persons were in no position to criticize the very policies of the government, because they were a part of the decision making process.

“Sometimes the agreements reached are not in the interest of their workers, but they can’t do anything about it because they would have already made a decision with the government.”

“Therefore, what you find is that over the last few years, salary negotiations have not been completed,” Eustace contended.

“Gonsalves has always legislated salaries, and trade unions have been quiet like a church mouse.”

The Opposition Leader said that he has no problem with consultations, “but tying them down to an acceptance, I don’t think it is right for our democracy.”

He said that the books should be opened so the unions will be able to have a clear picture of what the government’s financial position is.

“So if a wage freeze is recommended, then there will be a wage freeze. If they recommend 10 per cent, then let it be 10 per cent; but it must be negotiated,” Eustace said.

“I don’t like the principle of legislating salaries because you take away the freedom of negotiation,” he further explained, adding that in his opinion it made no sense for trade unions not to have power to bargain on behalf of its representatives. (DD)

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