The Grenada Technical and Allied Workers’ Union

GAWU GENERAL COUNCIL ADVISES WORK RESUMPTION

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Written by GTAWU 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

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Last Updated on Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:53 Written by GTAWU 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.

   

CABLE & WIRELESS WORKERS VOTE IN MASS IN UNION BALLOT

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Last Updated on Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:51 Written by GTAWU Thursday, 03 December 2015 12:42

Cable & Wireless workers vote

 

in masS in union ballot


Workers of the two Bargaining Units represented by the Technical and Allied Workers’ Union at Cable & Wireless - Generalised Staff and Management Employees - this morning unanimously voted to accept the Hon. Elvin Nimrod, Minister for Labour recommendations in respect of the two issues in dispute between the Company and the Union.

The two issues are wage increases for the period 2012 - 2013, 2013 - 2014 and 2014 - 2015 and the Vehicle Buy Out (VBO) payment arising out of changes to the Travel Allowance for Managerial Employees.

The Union had emphasised and pointed to the fact that Cable & Wireless never argued their inability to pay and that only in the ‘last 6 months to September this year had cut approximately 560 workers from its  payroll realising a US$70 million cost savings on a run rate basis by the end of its current fiscal year’, and that according to the Company’s CEO Mr. Phil Bentley, it spent over US$3 billion for the buyout of Columbus Communications and as a result  it will realise savings of an overall US$124 million reduction in cost as a result of the merger of FLOW into Cable & Wireless. Added to that there is an expected yield of a  further US$18 million in annual savings arising from contract cancelations.


Remarkably, Cable and Wireless group revenue totalled US$1.2 billion for the 6 months to September reflecting an increase of 4% over the same period last year and is EBITDA rose by 4% to US$427 million driven largely by its Caribbean business which registered profit growth of 22%.  It is against this background that the Union feels very strongly that the 4% increase per year is conservatively reasonably and fair in all of the circumstances.


The Union has also conducted an industrial action ballot to position the Union if it becomes necessary to take industrial action on Cable and Wireless including the withdrawal of labour to force a settlement in the issue. At the time of this release the secret industrial action ballot was still underway with workers in Carriacou, Grenville, Mt. Hartman, St. George’s and Grand Anse expected to complete the vote before the close of work today.


Commenting on the very successful meeting with the workers this morning which was attended by all section of the workers within the two Bargaining Units included Carriacou by teleconference President General Chester Humphrey expressed deep satisfaction and a reassurance of confidence with the militant mood of the workers which provaded the meeting. Meanwhile, TAWU has issued a statement of solidarity with the Cable and Wireless workers in Antigua who were off the job since Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workers casting their ballot

   

Solidarity Message From His Excellency Diosdado Cabello Randon

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Last Updated on Thursday, 26 March 2015 19:37 Written by webmaster Thursday, 26 March 2015 19:30

Read more: Solidarity Message From His Excellency Diosdado Cabello Randon

   

CORRIDORS OF POWER: The 411 on Venezuela

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Last Updated on Friday, 20 March 2015 21:55 Written by GTAWU Friday, 20 March 2015 21:53

   

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