The alleged imposition of working conditions by GTT on its employees without
consulting the Guyana Postal & Telecommunication Workers’ Union (GPTWU) has led to protest action by a small group of GTT employees along with senior representatives of the Union.
The President of the GPTWU Harold Shepherd and General Secretary Eslyn Harris were present to marshal the protestors in front of the telecommunications company’s Head Office at Brickdam yesterday.
Harris, speaking to this publication, highlighted the fact that GTT had signed a collective labour agreement with the GPTWU earlier this year which it is now totally disregarding.
This newspaper spoke with some of the disgruntled employees, who called for their rights to be respected, and for management to communicate with GPTWU before any decisions are made that would affect their welfare.
One of the main issues of the workers and the Union is the company’s move to offer employees over 50 years old, a voluntary retirement package.
GPTWU President Harold Shepherd rejected the proposal by GTT, and pointed out that the
move to pay these workers their full pension and an additional ten weeks’ pay would only amount to them being shortchanged.
Shepherd is of the notion that the company should pay workers a severance package along with their pension. He noted that 33 persons have already signed onto the agreement, but the Union has requested arbitration within the Department of Labour.
Shepherd called on GTT executives to meet for discussions instead of just returning emails.
The union is also concerned with the Company’s refusal to pay workers their daily overtime and its “unfair rule” to have the time accumulated weekly before overtime is paid.
Mere hours after the protest, GTT released a statement and highlighted the fact that GTT’s leadership supports the rights of their employees and joins the Union in rallying for continuous and improved working conditions.
However, it was made clear that GTT would not be intimidated when it comes to striking a balance between rights and the long-term sustainability of the company.
“Our employees have the right to voice their issues and concerns, but we are about to commence Collective Labour Agreement discussions, and as such we will engage in dialogue when at the bargaining table. GTT will not sway otherwise,” CEO Justin Nedd stated.
“We care about our employees and we continue to actively work with them and the GPTWU to listen, understand and address concerns. As such, we look forward to our on-going meetings and collaboration with the GPTWU in implementing changes that benefit both GTT employees and the company as a whole, especially as we prepare to enter a more competitive environment. But these discussions have proven to be much more productive when we engage in a professional and cordial manner,” Nedd added.
Nedd highlighted that “We will always be very respectful of workers’ rights while seeking to remain a premier employer in the country. In 2016 for example, we’ve already surpassed training for our people by more than 100% compared to any of the last five years.”
“When we talk about ‘DOING MORE’, we mean it all around – for our customers, employees and for Guyana. We are always open to feedback, in whatever form, but will continue to act in the best interest of the wider-good and according to the labour laws of the land,” Nedd maintained.
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