A SHOWDOWN is looming between the Office of the Labour Commissioner and the management of Soufriere Hotwire Rides.
This is over a ruling last week from the Department of Labour, said to have been ignored by the company, to re-engage workers terminated last month.
Information reaching The VOICE suggests the company has been summoned to Labour Commissioner Ray Narcisse’s office along with the National Workers Union (NWU), which has been seeking to be the employees’ trade union representative.
While the company was not forthcoming with related information when contacted just before press time yesterday, the Labour Department has been doing the opposite.
The National Workers Union also yesterday said it will release a statement on the matter.
It appears that the company, located at Morne Coubaril Historical Adventure Park, has been in a dispute with the union over employees’ decision to become unionized.
The situation has reached a stage where The VOICE learnt that workers may very well find themselves participating in a secret ballot exercise to determine, once and for all, their choice of union representation.
It is unclear when that exercise will take place, which is usually handled by officials from the Department of Labour. They usually undertake and supervise the process, which goes on for two to three hours.
The call to re-instate the dismissed workers was made by Joseph Joseph of the Labour Department via a letter to the company’s general manager, Josh De Freitas, dated 8 March, 2018.
The latter stated that the Labour Commissioner was in receipt of complaints from five employees claiming to have been terminated on 23 February, 2018 and that the company indicated that the terminations were due to downsizing and restructuring.
The Union, via letter dated 26 February, 2018 requested the intervention of the Labour Department.
However, at a conciliation on 7 March at the Labour Department’s southern office chaired by Joseph, it was established that Soufriere Hotwire Rides violated Section 369 of the Labour Act by failing to consult the Labour Commissioner and the Union prior to terminating the employees.
Joseph then ruled that the terminations were null and void and therefore, as a result, the dismissed employees were to be re-engaged effective immediately and compensated for lost wages.
But, as of yesterday (Friday) afternoon, The VOICE learnt that the employees were yet to be re-instated.