Ex-URP workers protest
Friday, November 2 2012
Scores of women yesterday picketed the Unemployment Relief Programme’s Head Office demanding they be re-instated after being laid off six weeks ago.
Chants of “We want we work! Right now!” filled the air along a dusty road outside the URP head office in El Socorro.
The protesters, which included a handful of men, held aloft banners calling for key figures in the URP administration to meet their demands, or resign.
The protesters told Newsday that they had been working on the URP social programme along the East West Corridor, and were laid off two weeks before the national budget was read in October.
According to them they were told they would be re-employed, but less than half of those laid off have been re-employed.
They felt they were also discriminated against by the administration because of their support for the ruling People’s Partnership Government.
Former URP employee, Shireen Olivierre told Newsday, “it is sad the bread we earned was taken away from us in favour of people under the People and Projects for Progress (PPP) programme,” some of whom rejected the $69 they were initially offered.
“I am talking about those who met with Mr Warner at St Paul’s Street. We were working for the same $69. We unemployed mothers want the URP,” she said.
The PPP programme is funded under the URP Social.
Olivierre said, “We were taking care of the senior citizens. We cleaned their homes and yards. We were repairing and constructing damaged homes of people in need.” Before being laid off, she said, materials were bought to repair some senior citizens home. What has become of those materials?” She questioned.
Pamela Cole of San Juan said that taking away the URP Social from them was “encouraging crime. We have children. We have no money for Christmas. The $69 was helping. We under real pressure now you know. URP — Under Real Pressure.”
According to the women on the picket line, they worked in groups in communities, and were about “several hundreds” who came from San Juan, El Socorro, Barataria, Laventille, Malick and Morvant.
URP Public Relations Officer, Barrington Thomas, told Newsday he was prepared to record the grievances of the protesters for the URP and the political directorate.