Monday 19 August, 2019

Tension Escalates Between NWU and Secure St. Lucia Ltd.

Just when it seemed that employees and the management of Secure St. Lucia Limited were on their way wrapping up some long and outstanding matters dealing with overtime compensation, a letter from the Department of Labour showed problems still exist between them.

Acting Labour Commissioner Cornelia Jn. Baptiste gave the company until the end of last month to provide information necessary to clear up all outstanding matters with employees. From a conciliatory meeting Jn Baptiste had with the company’s management and the employees' trade union, the National Workers Union (NWU), it appeared that things were on the up and up.

This, however, does not seem to be the case. A letter from Jn. Baptiste to the company’s Managing Director, Gabriel Pierre, just over a week ago, explained in detail not only how far from over the outstanding matters are between the two bodies, but what the company should do to smooth things over.

According to the Labour Commissioner, the Department of Labour is of the view that a breakdown in communication between the parties exists and needs to be rectified for the settlement of the outstanding matters. Jn Baptiste outlined two proposals to Pierre that would help in smoothing things over and to ensure that all parties, including the Department of Labour, are kept abreast of the progress of payments to the workers.

Proposal one calls for a record of payments to be completed by the company for submission to the Department and the Union each month to serve as a monitoring system on the progress of payments to the employees.

The second proposal calls on the employer to provide the updated master list to the Union and the Department containing the names of all workers to be paid, the amounts to be paid and payments made to date.

The company it seems has since adhered to the proposals however another issue looms that threatens to create even more tension between employees and management.

The National Workers Union today, Friday, May 3rd, 2019 says it brought to the attention of the Labour Commissioner (acting) a de-unionization initiative being undertaken by the Management of Secure St. Lucia Ltd.

“The NWU is of the opinion that this step by the company is as a result of a recent conciliatory meeting between the National Workers Union and Secure St. Lucia Ltd which was chaired by Labour Commissioner (Ag.) Miss Cornelia Jn. Baptiste,” said Tyrone Maynard, President General of the NWU.

Tyrone said that workers are now being threatened to forgo the overtime payments due to them in order for their jobs to be secured and that the company hosted a breakfast for workers during which they were asked to sign the documents.

“The National Workers Union feels that a padded list will be submitted by the company to the Department of Labour,” Maynard said.

Secure St. Lucia Ltd was advised by the Labour Department to recommence the outstanding overtime payments due to Security Guards, an issue that has been outstanding since 2014.

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