On 12 January 2018, NAWASA and GTAWU signed a Letter of Understanding settling the impasse which gave rise to the Red December Strike of 2017 over the issue of making the former contract workers permanent.
The union and the company then settled on what the daily rate of pay for the workers should be. At the same time the parties also undertook negotiations for a new Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) for the period 2016 to 2019.
The company has refused to apply the increases from 2016 and instead referred the matter to the Ministry of Labour for Conciliation.
By way of letter dated 30 December 2019, the Labour Commissioner, Cyrus Griffith recommended that the workers’ salaries should be increased from 2016 in line with the agreed settlement between NAWASA and GTAWU.
The company sought to get the Labour Commissioner to amend his recommendation by purporting to give clarity on the information they had presented. On 7 July 2020, the Labour Commissioner, Cyrus Griffith gave the following recommendations in part, “Please be advised that having considered your concerns, my recommendations remain that the former contract workers salaries must be increased by the amount negotiated and agreed between the company and union from 2016.”
The union has since written to the Labour Commissioner once again accepting his recommendations and calling upon the company to do the same. The union pointed out that these workers had been exploited for many years by NAWASA.