The Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union

CABLE & WIRELESS WORKERS VOTE FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION AT CABLE & WIRELESS

Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:59

CABLE & WIRELESS WORKERS VOTE FOR

 

INDUSTRIAL ACTION AT CABLE & WIRELESS

 

 

Workers at Cable & Wireless under the Bargaining Units of the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers’ Union voted overwhelmingly in mass in an industrial ballot conducted yesterday.


In a near unanimous vote in a ballot conducted by TAWU the workers have signaled to the Union that they are prepared to take industrial action including strike action to press the Company to settle the Collective Labour Agreement.


Negotiations between Cable & Wireless and TAWU has been ongoing now for about a year with no settlement on two (2) burning issues, salary increases and vehicle buyout compensation.


Earlier this week on Tuesday last the Minister made his recommendations to the parties thus concluding his mediation efforts. The Union has since accepted those recommendations and has confirmed its acceptance in an official letter to the Minister of Labour Hon. Elvin Nimrod which correspondence was copied to the Company. Cable & Wireless has not responded.


Coming against the announcement to the Union that there will be a 30% loss of jobs across the combined Cable & Wireless and Flow there is a grave state of anxiety and apprehension amongst the workers and in a letter sent to the Company in early September TAWU made it clear that before it will engage in any talks with Cable & Wireless about job cuts the outstanding matters in the negotiations for a new Collective Agreement which goes back to March 2012 must first be concluded.


In a comment after the ballot Senator Chester Humphrey - President General of TAWU has said that Cable & Wireless should take note of the mood of the workers and settle the two (2) outstanding issues promptly as the recommendations are conservative but equitable and fair. TAWU is expected to seek the solidarity of other sections of the Union.

 

 

 

 

GAWU GENERAL COUNCIL ADVISES WORK RESUMPTION

Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:56

Members of the General Council (GC) of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) at a special meeting today (November 26, 2015) decided to advise the workers to suspend the current strike which followed last Friday’s (November 20, 2015) Annual Production Incentive (API) talks between the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GuySuCo). Members of the Union’s negotiations team who are not part of the General Council also participated in the meeting.

The GC noted the commitment and spirit of the workers who gallantly are prepared to protect and defend their hard won gains, their right to increase pay like others workers - so necessary, at least, to maintain their purchasing power in conditions of rising costs of essential goods.

Sugar workers were aghast when they were informed last Friday by their colleagues who are members of the Union’s negotiation team that the Corporation adamantly held on to a quantity of 85,000 tonnes sugar for a day’s pay as API. This is a vast difference from the Union amended claim of 37,000 tonnes sugar for a day’s pay which was the average over the last four (4) years. Last year (2014), for instance, the API payment was 4.5 days’ pay on the production of 216,242, tonnes of sugar. Should the industry attain its production target of 227,000 tonnes of sugar, then the workers would earn as API approimately 6.13 days’ pay but GuySuCo is only offering 2.6 days’ pay. Between 1989 and 2013, the lowest incentive was 5 days’ pay and the highest was 23.5 notwithstanding that in one instance production were below 130,000 tonnes sugar.

Regarding, the wage negotiations, the GuySuCo continues to blatantly breach the Trade Union Recognition Act (TURA) which requires the process of Collective Bargaining to take place. The Agreement subsisting between the Union and the Corporation, at the same time, is breached by the Corporation driving uneasiness in the Union and among the workers. The relevant clause of the Agreement requires the Corporation to begin to address the Union’s claim not later than two (2) weeks after its submission and to complete the negotiating process not later than two (2) months.

The Union’s Attorney-at-Law, Senior Counsel Cde. Ashton Chase wrote to the Corporation citing the Agreement and the TURA with a view to getting a commitment from the Corporation towards its engagement in Collective Bargaining with the Union. Counsel’s letter was not even acknowledged by GuySuCo.

No increase in pay retroactive to January 01, 2015, at this time, and a token API payment for the increased production to some 227,000 tones signifies that an important segment of the country’s hard-working labour force faces a grim and Bleak Christmas made possible by the GuySuCo and the owners of the industry.

Sugar workers are resilient. What is denied and withheld from them won’t be ignored and surrendered. They would certainly contemplate further struggles.

   

MINISTER MAKES RECOMMENDATION IN TAWU/CABLE & WIRELESS DISPUTE

Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:51

The long awaited recommendations from the mediation efforts by Labour Minister Hon. Elvin Nimrod were received yesterday with clarifications made pursuant to those recommendations received this afternoon.

The Minister both under the provisions of the Labour Relations Act and the Grievance Procedure of the Collective Labour Agreement intervene to mediate deadlocked negotiations for wage increases and other matters for both Bargaining Units represented by the Technical and Allied Workers’ Union at Cable and Wireless. (Apart from the generalised staff TAWU also represent Managerial employees).

The Minister’s recommendations of 4% in basic pay for each of the periods 2012 to 2013, 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015. The increase was made against the backdrop of mounting profitability of Cable and Wireless and its radically improved efficiencies brought on by drastic cuts of jobs during the period of the life of the agreement currently negotiated.

The Union had earlier accepted the said recommendations by Labour Commissioner - Cyrus Griffith who took into consideration that the Company had never argued the inability to pay. The Minister also recommended positively the obligation of Cable & Wireless to pay employees the Vehicle Buy out on the basis of voice evidence on a recording which established beyond any doubt that the parties had agreed at a meeting to make that payment to all employees who were in receipt of a Vehicle Allowance.

The Union is to meet with Cable and Wireless employees in both Bargaining Units tomorrow morning at 7:30 where a formal ballot ratifying acceptance would be conducted.

Meanwhile, TAWU has issued a statement of solidarity with a sister Union in Antigua the National Workers’ Union and its members of Cable & Wireless who are on a complete sick out which commenced yesterday. Speaking on the recommendations from the Minister the Union’s President’s General Senator Chester Humphrey has said that “Cable & Wireless financial performance is evidence by its wholesale acquisition of FLOW Columbus Communications and its enhanced profitability has had much to do with its massive cut of jobs. Cable & Wireless share price has significantly increased since the Columbus Communications acquisitions.”

The President General further said that it was his sincerest hope that Cable & Wireless will accept the Minister’s recommendations and bring a quick and complete end to this dispute which has been threating industrial stability of the Company within Grenada.

   

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