There is light at the end of the tunnel for the 15 public officers who were attached to the state-run Grenada Postal Corporation (GPC), which is being folded up by government.
The seconded workers are now on administrative leave from the public service since the employment tenure of postal workers came to an end on February 29.
The two bargaining agents for the workers -the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU) and the Public Workers Union (PWU) – were forced to re-engage the GPC management on the plight of the 15 workers.
Union officials, Senator Chester Humphrey of TAWU and PWU’s Adrian Francis told reporters at a press conference Monday that the agreement worked out represents a significant achievement for both the workers and union.
According to the agreement, the workers will receive pension and gratuity in accordance with section 84-8 of the Grenada Constitution, which makes provisions for an employee to receive payment as if he/she had worked up to age 60.
Francis said the proposal was put forward to the 15 estranged workers after the meeting held with government.
“We (took the) proposal to them and they have discussed it. Workers voted for the proposal that they would receive the 19-year payments like they have worked with the Grenada Postal Corporation … just as the other workers”, he said.
He added that another aspect of the agreement is for an additional pay of four months for those persons who have worked over 8 years at GPC.
Francis disclosed that the 15 workers who came from the Public Service will also “receive a compensation package every month based on the years of service they had prior to 1997 before joining the Postal Corporation”.
The workers, he said would also be entitled to vacation payment or vacation leave prior to joining the Postal Cooperation on January 24th, 1997 and even the vacation leave that they have which they have not utilised with the Postal Corporation as of February 29, 2015.
A few weeks ago, 146 GPC workers received termination benefits, amounting to approximately $9 million.
A total of 96 workers were recalled to work at the post office while 50 were retrenched.
During the press conference, the Shop Stewards of both Unions used the occasion to express their thanks to the unions for the fight they put up on their behalf with the management of the state-run body for their benefits.
PWU’s Sandra Patterson said the workers took the decision to give the Unions some of the money they would be receiving from GPC.
“Many people (are) thinking that the Unions were a sell-out to us (but) they were very strong in what they were delivering”, she remarked.
According to Patterson, the workers agreed to demonstrate their appreciation by giving back something to the unions.
“…We thought it was best since the Unions really fight … that we give the Unions something out of the package and we had agreed that we should give them one month salary from our package,” she said.
Sen. Humphrey gave assurances that the union will always be available to represent workers at the Postal Corporation and that no one can stop a worker from seeking union representation.
When quizzed by THE NEW TODAY newspaper, representatives of both TAWU and PWU could not shed any light on who will be paying the rehired workers at the postal corporation.
Prime Minister Mitchell has also indicated that he does not know who will be taking over the operations of the state-body.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Elvin Nimrod told a radio programme last week that an entity has been identified but declined to release the name because discussions are ongoing.