Grenada’s Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU) says workers at FLOW, one of Grenada’s main
telecommunication providers, continue to function in a state of uncertainty while their employer Cable and Wireless, seems bent on playing with their future.
This observation was triggered by the fact that one day before the termination letters of some fifty-two workers were due to take effect, they were asked to stay on the job.
Taking time off on Tuesday from an impromptu meeting with some of the affected workers, TAWU President General Andre Lewis told the media that the situation is serious and therefore they were meeting with the workers one day ahead of the Labour Minister’s planned meeting with a view of planning the next course of action and how best to deal with the situation.
Lewis said based on the behavior of the company, it is clear that Cable and Wireless was not prepared for the impact of their action, as it relates to providing adequate and effective service to their customers in the aftermath of the decision. He therefore drove home the union’s point that the action was based on spite and pure victimization, hitting back at the union by sending home workers. He went on to say that the company’s action showed a clear disregard for workers’ rights, a violation of the collective agreement with the union.
Questioned as to how long the workers were asked to hold on for, Lewis said it is still not clear; however he said that the union was informed that some workers were approached individually, and told to hold on for two months, others for one month. The terms and conditions of those arrangements he said were also not clear.
Shortly after the LIME/FLOW merger earlier this year the company stated its intention to reduce its staff by a significant number. The union contended then that to embark on such a process, certain conditions must be met, among them, regularization of salaries prior to termination, severance pay to affected workers and others. According to Lewis, without meeting any of those conditions and in the face of an arbitration process, the company went ahead and issued termination letters to the workers to take effect on July 31, 2016.
The TAWU president general said as far as the union is concerned they want the workers to remain on the job; but for a company to engage in such an underhand deal does not speak well to any future relationship, and also speaks to the mindset of the company. The union he said has asked their workers to return to work while it sits with the company with a view of working out the new direction including terms and conditions.