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posted 4 Jul 2012, 23:06 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 4 Jul 2012, 23:32 ]
On top of the egregious violations of the collective agreement and the law, Ansa McAL added insult to injury by paying severance not in a lump sum as is the norm but by paying the severance on a weekly basis.

This is clearly an attempt to victimise and demoralise the workers of Sissons and by extension the 6,000 other workers employed at what Ansa McAL itself calls one of the largest local conglomerates.

Why else would a conglomerate with an asset base of $11.4 billion, consolidated operating revenues of $5.267 billion, the highest level of revenue in the Group’s history, operating profit of over $1 billion and operations that span manufacturing, brewing, insurance, finance, real estate, media, shipping, trading/ distribution, automotive and industrial equipment retailing sectors choose to pay severance entitlements in weekly tranches as if it was some scrunting two by four business that was on the brink of bankruptcy?

Ansa McAL owns fifty companies in eight business sectors across the Caribbean including Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados and USA, yet it chooses to put workers whose lives it has shattered through the wringer of weekly severance payments, making it impossible for them to re-organise their prospects.
On June 22nd 2012, the Ansa McAL conglomerate retrenched 100 workers of its subsidiary Sisson’s Paints, members of the Transport and Industrial Workers’ Union (TIWU) and closed down the company located on the Uriah Butler Highway in Chaguanas.

The union accused the company of retrenching the workers in violation of
"When the world was talking about economic hardship and recession, our people were focused on the opportunities and found growth in every sector – the award of the BMW dealership, acquisition of the minority position in our Barbados businesses, new healthcare lines' acquisition of the Trimart chain of supermarkets in Barbados, acquisition of new distribution brands, increase in export sales, start-up of a new vinyl window production line and an MOU to pursue a renewable energy project in Guyana."

A. Norman Sabga

Chairman and Chief Executive

Ansa McAL

Article 16 Section (1) and (2) A of the collective agreement which sets out how the issue of redundancy is to be dealt with.

The union also accused the company of ignoring the procedure for retrenchment; ignoring the requirement of allowance for consultation prior to formal notice of retrenchment and minimum periods of notice of retrenchment and allowances where requirements for notice of retrenchment cannot be complied with as set out in the Retrenchment and Severance Benefit Act number 32 of 1985.

TIWU accused the management of the company of blatant disregard and disrespect for the collective agreement and the law of the land. The union based on the above has filed an industrial relations offence against the company and applied under section 84 of the Industrial Relations Act for an order against the company and under section 70 of the Act  for orders against the Managing Director Edward Kacal and three other top management
In 2008 Ansa McAL acquired Sissons Paints. They already owned Penta Paints based in Arima. In his 2011 report Gerry C. Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of the conglomerate stated: “Our Coatings businesses (Penta & Sissons) continue to perform creditably increasing share in a challenging market.”
In 2011 Penta acquired exclusive distribution rights for International Paints, a leading transnational coating company. 
Yet just a few months later, Ansa McAL merged Penta and Sissons and formed a company called Ansa Coatings and shut down operations in Chaguanas, retrenching 100 workers. 

Capitalism is driven by the principle of profit maximisation at all costs, so even if a company or sector is doing well that does not protect it from becoming leaner and meaner and invariably the costs that are cut are labour costs. 

Collective bargaining can attempt to shift balance of power relationship between the employers and the workers, but in the final analysis if workers are to live a sustainably decent and civilised lifestyle, capitalism has to be destroyed and that is a supremely political act.
personnel, Amy Lazarri, Keith James and Kashta Ome.
The industrial relations offence is based on the failure of the company to give formal notice to the union for the termination of the workers on the grounds of redundancy contrary to Section 25 (1) of the Retrenchment and Severance Benefit Act.

It is further based on the failure of the company in good faith to meet and treat and enter into negotiation with the union for the purpose of collective bargaining contrary to section 40 of the Act and article 16 Redundancy/Lay Off of the collective agreement.