by Linda Straker
Workers at a 2nd statutory body are on strike. Workers at the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) who are represented by the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) have downed tools as they began industrial action on Wednesday, calling on the management of the statutory body to conclude negotiations on outstanding matters.
Senator Andre Lewis, President General of TAWU confirmed that the industrial protest began Wednesday morning. “We have a number of outstanding matters, and the deadline has passed on them, so we are taking industrial action to seek a resolution to these matters,” he said without outlining the outstanding matters. “Right now, I am in the middle of a demonstration, so bear with me,” he said.
The NLA is the 2nd statutory body whose workers began strike action on Wednesday morning. Workers at the National Water and Sewage Authority (NAWASA) whom the union claims it represents, began strike action. The union is calling on the management to regularise almost 100 contracted workers as permanent workers.
Christopher Husbands, Managing Director of NAWASA said that the board of directors and management do admit that workers need to be regularised, but the union is not willing to accept the proposed terms and conditions.
“We accept the workers need to be regularised, but we cannot accept the terms from the union, especially the demand to appoint all the workers as permanent employees,” Husbands told journalists during a news conference at the company’s head office on Wednesday morning.
Head of the negotiating team, Christopher De Allie explained that a person could only be appointed to the position only when that position is established. “So, where we understand the union’s request, we cannot give an appointment if the position is not established,” he said.
De Allie used the opportunity to explain that even though the workers have taken strike action under the directions of TAWU, they are not members of the union because they don’t pay union dues nor a service due.
Pleading for the union to comply with the process as provided for in law, De Allie said the union seems to have shut the door on further negotiations. “We don’t want a fight, we want a resolution; we have not shut the door,” he said.
The Technical and Allied Workers Union has declared the month of December ‘Red December’ as it seeks to address a number of contentious issues at different workplaces especially contract employment.