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TSTT WITHHOLDS SALARIES

posted 14 Jul 2013, 20:03 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 14 Jul 2013, 20:03 ]
July 14, 2013

The Communication Workers' Union would like to publicly condemn in the strongest possible manner, the outrageous, illegal and wicked act perpetrated on workers of the Southern Branch by the TSTT Board of Directors, Executive Management and Middle Management. 
 
In an act of reprisal, the Company committed one of the most devious Industrial Relations Offences imaginable by withholding workers' salaries for the month of June 2013 after the workers exercised their rights .as enshrined in the Industrial Relations Act and the OSH Act. In addition, we have been reliably informed that the company with the full blessings of the Board of Directors has started the process to further withhold workers' salaries for the month of July 2013. 

We would recall that over seven (7) weeks ago, workers situated at the Cipero Rd. Work Centre and other work locations in the Southern District, took legitimate action to protect their health, safety and well being after repeated requests were made to the TSTT Management to rectify serious Health and Safety Infractions at their respective work bases, inclusive of the provision of Protective Clothing and equipment in accordance with the Collective Agreement. 

A series of events followed inclusive of a visit by the Ag CEO, two (2) Executive Vice Presidents and the Head of the company's Health and Safety Department. Meetings were also held between the Executive of the Union and the Company to have the Health and Safety issues resolved. 

Despite all efforts by the CWU to have this issue resolved consistent with the provisions as outlined in the OSH Act the company has failed/refused to so do. In the circumstances, the workers continued to abide by the provisions of the OSH Act and sought to take measures to protect their health, safety, well being and their lives.
 
The situation was so severe that during the course of the seven (7) week period, infractions such as the presence of Snakes, Rats, Insects and Stray Dogs at the Cipero Road Work Centre were reported to the Company's Management and up to now, they have not taken reasonable steps to eradicate these threats and dangers to the health, safety, well being and lives of their workers. These are only a few examples of the glaring Health and Safety infractions that were brought to the attention of the TSTT Management. 

What has aggravated the matter is the company's action to withhold employees’ salaries despite the provisions of the OSH Act. In addition, the act of withholding employees’ salaries was taken while the Company's Health and Safety Committee was conducting an investigation to determine the extent and validity of the employees’ complaints. Any amateur practitioner of Industrial Relations would tell you that you cannot take punitive action while you are investigating the circumstances that gave rise to the workers refusal to work in such conditions. 

This act by the TSTT Board, Executive and Middle Management is viewed as an attempt to decimate the solidarity and strength of the CWU Southern Branch. This is an attempt to attack a strong base of the Union and weaken its resolve to correct all the ills that are bedeviling the effective operations of the company. 

The CWU makes a public call on the Line Minister responsible for the operations of TSTT to intervene in this matter since the illegal and illegitimate withholding of employees’ salaries goes against the grain of the employment relationship. It is a wicked and horrendous act and is one directed at the heart of the Union. 

We take strong offence against such an act and warn the Company that the workers have all right to take whatever action that is deemed legitimately necessary to protect their health, safety, wellbeing, jobs and their lives. Whenever people's property and lives are threatened it is natural that they would take the necessary steps to protect them; even to the extent of eliminating that threat. 
 
We warn TSTT that this act would never be forgiven and as such they must be prepared to deal with the workers and the CWU as we are going to mobilize all our members to take the offensive in defense of our rights as enshrined in the OSH Act, the Collective Agreement, and the IRA. 
 
Be forewarned: There shall be no Peace without Justice!
A word to the wise is sufficient! 

Bryan St. Louis
Ag. Secretary Gen
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