Sunday 21 July, 2019

NWU seeks meeting with Chastanet, King, Montoute over CCC matter

The National Workers Union (NWU) is requesting a meeting with Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Labour Minister Stephenson King and Local Government Minister Lenard Montoute over a matter that is brewing at the Castries Constituencies Council.

The matter first reared its head last week when daily paid workers downed their tools claiming they were unhappy with plans to implement a shift system and extend their working hours.

But not all workers participated in the protest action. A Supervisor told Loop News that he was unaware of the strike action as proper procedure was not followed that usually leads to such action by workers.

Even Mayor Peterson Francis who confronted the protesting workers in the Council’s yard last week said he was unaware of the reason for the protest.

“Up to now, I do not know the reason for workers not being at work this morning. I am still at sea as to what has happened,” Francis was quoted as saying last week.

Talk among workers revealed that the shift system could remove workers ability to make more money on weekends.

President General of the NWU, Tyrone Maynard in a letter addressed to the prime minister dated February 14, 2019, underscored the cries of the workers.

“Dear Hon Prime Minister:

First of all, let me take this opportunity on behalf of my Central Committee, Membership and Leadership of the National Workers Union (NWU) to wish you and your Cabinet of Ministers a rewarding 2019.

Prime Minister, as you are aware, the National Workers Union is the certified bargaining representative for all non-establishment and daily paid workers employed with the Castries Constituency Council (CCC). We have concluded negotiations with the Council and have in our possession a signed industrial agreement. The character and provisions of the industrial contract would reflect that negotiations were held at a time when the Council was experiencing financial constraints. Despite that workers continue to give their full cooperation and produce under trying and difficult circumstances.

When Mr. Wilfred Pierre was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Council, we saw such a decision as helping the Council enrich its capacity to engage the NWU and assist in resolving industrial relations matters in keeping with his background and knowledge. It would appear that the gentleman is being stifled. Sir, to date, we are witnessing a constant and loud cry from workers who are firm in their belief that they are not being properly treated by Council.  It is against this background that we are requesting a general meeting with the workers at which you as Prime Minister, Labour Minister Hon Stephenson King and Minister for Local Government Hon. Lennard Montoute would be present. The date, time and venue could be mutually arranged.

Thanks for your consideration of the above.  We await your response.”

Throwing their support behind the CCC workers were the employees of the Water and Sewerage Co (WASCO) whose Senior Shop Steward Gregory Inglis, in a letter to Mayor Francis, also dated February 14, 2019, expressed the concerns of his members to the attitude of the Council in dealing with industrial relations matters with its workers.

“We have been monitoring and investigating developments at the Council and have discovered that workers are continuing to discharge their responsibilities without their medical checks. Uniforms and protective necessities are not being issued in a timely manner. Cemetery attendants on many occasions have to leave the cemetery late, without the required facilities to clean up themselves. In fact, working conditions could be better if effective changes were being made,” stated Inglis in his letter to Mayor Francis

“We are therefore calling on your Council to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Legislation or face the wrath of the workers.  WASCO employees’ stand in full solidarity with the Council workers and will do all within our reach to reverse this dangerous development, in the interest of workers struggle,” Inglis concluded in his letter.

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