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Some UTT contract workers

Published: 
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
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UTT president Prof Sarim Al-Zubaidy

Members of the corporate staff at the University of T&T (UTT) who were among the 456 workers awaiting regularisation and permanent employment began receiving their confirmation letters on Tuesday.

The distribution of letters to the remainder of staff will continue over the next few weeks.

This came after an agreement was reached at conciliation at the Industrial Court by UTT’s Board of Directors and the majority recognised union, the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) on September 20. UTT’s President Sarim Al-Zubaidy addressed UTT workers via memorandum on Monday.

Al-Zubaidy, however, disclosed that “consequently, upon the conversion of the status of the workers from contract to permanent the university will engage the union on matters related to the issue of gratuity.”

He added that the university would, therefore, conduct a verification exercise and issue letters to the rest of the workers in the bargaining unit by December 2018.

Guardian Media, however, understands that while 456 contract workers will be made permanent, the UTT remains fixed in its proposal to continue its retrenchment of 287 workers, including staff from academics, as it is expected to save over $40 million.

This restructuring plan was announced on January 15, by Al-Zubaidy.

The university has been facing uncertainty since UTT’s board of governors chairman Prof Kenneth Julien announced that it would be hard to continue operations beyond January 2018 due to the challenges created by a further 11 per cent decrease in UTT’s 2017/2018 recurrent allocation to $200 million.

On December 12, 2017, Al-Zubaidy also informed UTT’s student body that there will be no new intake of students for the 2018/2019 academic year in three of the university’s major programmes: Biomedical Engineering, Environmental Science and Management, Bioscience and Agriculture and Health Sciences.

Despite this, $323,059,056 of the university’s “unspent funds” was transferred to its Signature Building Complex project at Tamana InTech Park.

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