WASCO, WINERA Workers Want Overtime Issue Settled.
EMPLOYEES of WASCO Inc. (Water and Sewerage Company Incorporated) and WINERA Ltd (Windward Islands Packaging Company Ltd) have thrown their support behind security guards at Secure St. Lucia Ltd who are fighting an uphill battle to secure sums amounting to $700,000 owed to them by their employer.
The employees last week wrote to Ray Narcisse, Deputy Labour Commissioner calling on him to stand firm and resolve the matter peacefully, warning that should he fail to maintain industrial justice they wil fully would join the security guards in full solidarity.
It has been more than five months since the National Workers Union (NWU) and Secure St. Lucia Ltd have been locked in a dispute over unpaid overtime for staff at the security firm. The amount of $700,000 was arrived at by both parties during discussion, however to get the security firm to stick to a payment plan has not been possible.
The NWU, last June wrote to Narcisse stating that in their view the parties can come to an agreement based on the figure of $700,000 that the company had confirmed was owed to aggrieved workers.
The NWU further said that it was open to approaches that would seek to pay this sum over a reasonable period.
“With this in mind, therefore, we have accepted your suggestion to convene a further meeting in an attempt to resolve the issue,” the NWU said to Narcisse.
Secure St. Lucia had at one time devised a way out of the situation by proposing to pay up overtime monies for the period January – June of this year.
However, the NWU rejected that saying it was not an acceptable basis for settlement.
With the weeks and months going by without progress in any direction the NWU has decided to activate their branches in other companies to bring pressure to bear on the Department of Labour hence the letter to Narcisse by WASCO and WINERA, signed by the shop stewards of both companies represented by the NWU.
The shop stewards, in their letter to Narcisse, wrote of their interest in and their concern about the industrial impasse between the Management of Secure St. Lucia Ltd and their union, the NWU.
“Our investigation revealed that the company, Secure St. Lucia Ltd., operated in this country for a long period of time and failed to adhere to a legal obligation. It is our view that the company should have been given three weeks as a cooling off period, following which the company would inform the Department of Labour and the NWU of its schedule to reach settlements on behalf of the workers,” the shop stewards told Narcisse via letter.
The NWU is hoping that good sense will prevail and that the security firm would honour its obligation to its workers.