As the Board of Directors and Management of the National Water and Sewage Authority (NAWASA) continue to hold out and defy the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union’s (GTAWU) calls to regularized the scores of workers who have been operating on contract for years, union has given its strongest indication to-date that Grenada could be facing a national strike.
Addressing members of the media during a press briefing at the union’s headquarters in St George’s last Friday in the presence of a number of contracted NAWASA workers, TAWU’s president General Andre Lewis noted that after meeting union members and shop stewards from various private and public entities on the island it was unanimously agreed that additional pressures should be brought on NAWASA to achieve the desired result.
Lewis indicated that a number of entities among them Grenlec, and Air Traffic Control, Met. Office and the Maintenance Department at the Maurice Bishop International Airport, Grenada Port Authority, National Bus Terminus among others have agreed to give solidarity support to the struggle now faced by the NAWASA workers.
The President General noted that based on these pledges and the refusal of NAWASA to resolve the matter, the nation could look forward to increased industrial action as of this week.
The ongoing TAWU/NAWASA impasse started early December with the call for all contract workers to be made permanent, effective from the date of their employment.
That offer was rejected by the NAWASA negotiating team, and therefore on the advice of the union, workers withdrew their services just before the Christmas and remain on the picket line to the present date.
Lewis called on the nation to be on guard, for the possible impact this situation may have on their normal daily functions. He, however, noted that the ball is in the court of the government to do what is necessary to prevent an escalation of this matter. TAWU, he said is open for discussion, however, they are not prepared to change their course of action.
As it stands Lewis said, it is just a matter of time before the green light is given for the increased action, and although it is not something that TAWU wants to do, the present situation leaves them with no choice and therefore would do what is best for the workers.
Lewis calls for public understanding in the situation since this is an issue that touches and concerns the bread and butter of their workers and therefore the time has come to put an end to an issue that has gone on for way too long.
The President General said having been given the commitment; TAWU would determine the course of action and time.
Although the present issue touches and concerns NAWASA Lewis said a number of other companies are in similar situations and TAWU would soon be moving to address concerns- among them, the exploitation of workers in other workplaces as soon as the NAWASA situation is put to rest.
Among the companies listed were Caribbean Agro Industries, Grenada Broadcasting Network, and Calabash Hotel, among others.
NNP Activist accused of soliciting support for Government one-off payment
Also coming out of last Friday’s press briefing is information that hinges on political interference in the battle of the Government one-off payment to public workers
Lewis hinted to members of the media, that information has reached the union that a political activist of the ruling New National Party has been going around the government ministries asking public workers to sign a petition agreeing to accept the government one-off payment offer to public workers.
While some workers including the Police we were told, accepted the offer, workers attached to the GTAWU, the Grenada Union of Teachers and the Public Workers Union, PWU, remain adamant they would not accept the $750 one-off payment offered by the government.
In light of the present situation, Lewis noted that this development is wrong and calls on the activist to cease such practice.
As it related to the organizations that went ahead and accepted Government’s offer, Lewis said this is their right and he respects that but noted that TAWU would not accept that offer.