The Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union


Thursday, 03 December 2015 14:12





The Safety and Health and Organising Specialist of the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers’ Union (GTAWU), Cde. Godwin Thomas, who was a guest of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU), conducted a one (1) day seminar during on November 24, 2015 at the Union’s Labour College.

Thirty (30) Branch Chairman and Secretaries coming from among the Union’s members at BEV Processors Inc, Noble House Seafoods, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Fund Committee (SILWFC), National Parks Commission, Guyana Forestry Commission, Caricom Rice Mills Limited, Demerara Shipping Company Limited, Berbice Bridge Company Inc, the Mahaica Mahaicony, Abary Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA), the Demerara Habour Bridge Corporation and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) were the seminar’s participants.

Cde. Godwin Thomas’ stayed with GAWU until November 27, 2015. Union Officials also provided presentations at the Seminar on the following topics:- Communication Skills and Grievances Handling, the Role of the Shop Stewards, Organising and Maintaining Branch Committees, the Structure of the Union, Safety and Health Measures in the workplace and selected aspects of the Termination of Employment, Severance Pay Act and the Prevention of Discrimination Act.

Another educational activity took place on November 25, 2015 and catered for the Union’s Field Officers, among others. Cde. Thomas provided participants with insights on techniques and the methodology used by his Union in organising especially those workers who are not unionised. He emphasised that the Unions’ structure must ensure that there is an active link with its Rank and File members. The Union’s Field Officers took the opportunity to share their experiences and challenges they encounter in their daily work.

GAWU recognises that training is an ongoing process and must be treated as a priority to its Field Officers, Union Activists, Shop Stewards and ordinary members. GAWU was most pleased to host Cde. Godwin Thomas. His visit and assistance to GAWU will certainly contribute to the strengthening of the bonds of fraternity and solidarity between GAWU and TAWU - two (2) progressive Unions in the Caribbean.



Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:59






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.






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.


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