After three years of negotiations between the Grenada Postal Corporation (GPC), the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU) and the Public Workers Union (PWU), a settlement has finally been reached to cover the retrenchment of over 130 workers at the state-run utility company who are to benefit from over 5 million dollars in compensation packages.
TAWU’s Grievance Officer, Trevor Xavier told THE NEW TODAY newspaper last Friday that increments have already been paid and what the workers are awaiting now is the severance pay, a four-months lump sum payment, pension and benefits.
According to Xavier, based on the agreement worked out, these payments must be paid before the proposed retrenchment date.
Xavier explained the mechanism to be used to determine the four-month lump sum and pension payments for the entitled workers.
“They will be paid the Postal Corp portion of the pension contribution for the year 2010-2015 because during that period the Postal Corp did not honour its obligations under the contribution and make pension contribution to the workers and therefore this is an outstanding and this will be part of the workers package”, he said.
“…They will be paid, an additional (sum) apart from their retrenchment…workers who worked with Postal Corp for eight years or more will get an additional four months pay and this pay will be in accordance with the Postal Corp handbook,” he added.
This newspaper understands that additional monies could be awarded to the soon-to-be-retrenched workers based on an outstanding matter surrounding salary increases for the period 2012-16.
Xavier said: “We were in negotiations for the period 2012 up to 2016, when the Post Office announced its intention to retrench the workers… It’s a matter that was sent to the Ministry of Labour.
Sometime before the proposed closing date, which is February 29th this year, the parties should be meeting at the Ministry of Labour … once that is concluded… workers may have additional monies to get”.
Although Xavier could not say what is replacing the Postal Corporation, he said there will be opportunities for a significant number of workers to be re-employed by the new establishment.
The Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s has not made an official statement on the future of postal services in the country.
However, the administration has been forced to tackle the financially plagued GPC on the urgings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank that are key players in Grenada’s ongoing Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).