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300 sent home from NHC, says Kellman


marciadottin, [email protected]

300 sent home from NHC, says Kellman

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THREE HUNDRED WORKERS have been sent home from the state-owned National Housing Corporation (NHC), says Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman.
Stating he was not involved in the retrenchment process, the minister said last night that the lay-offs were regrettable but in an organisation comprising 664 people within the current economic crisis, it had to be done.
“It’s regrettable that we had to lay off people . . . but every year when you report having such a large deficit and when your capital projects even sometimes cannot bring in the money that you spent or even to help cover the expenditure for overheads, one must ask ourselves, ‘Can we allow a lame foot to take us to our grave’?” he asked while addressing a St James Central branch meeting of the Democratic Labour Party at Welches Primary School.
“I am told that 300 staff members were from the NHC and the criteria would have been last in, first out, and discretion would have been used where possible,” he added.
Kellman said Government must now find ways to bring outstanding construction projects such as Sugar Point Pier, the Pierhead Marina, Andrew’s Sugar Factory, the waste-to-energy plant and Four Seasons Resort on stream quickly so that those displaced workers would be the first-call employees.
He also said to retrenched public sector workers last night: “If you were not a good worker before, you have to understand that you cannot expect the recommendation to suit.”
He said, however, that politicians must continue to help people get jobs but workers should, in turn, do their part to help the Government at this critical time.
“Now that we find ourselves in a little bind, give us a little elbow room so that we can develop something a little better for you, and instead of being temporary, that we can create some permanent work for you.” (RJ)
Stating that the NHC had taken on a lot of debt and it had to try to reduce it, he promised this was not the end of the relationship with the 300 workers.
“We now have to try to see how we can find alternatives ways of re-employing them or encouraging other persons to re-employ them. Just because they have been given a paper saying to go home, that is not the end of the story,” he said. (RJ)

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