The gates of one of Grenada’s major state-owned bodies, Gravel and Concrete Emulsion Production Corporation are closed as workers downed tools in an Industrial action which started on Tuesday.
The workers made the move on instructions from their bargaining body, the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU).
Speaking to reporters, President-General of the union, Andre Lewis said that the protest action was taken due to the refusal of the Board of Directors to respond to ongoing negotiations on salary increases for the period 2016-18.
According to Lewis, the union had expected a response by August 4th to its latest request but nothing was forthcoming.
“This is a matter that has been outstanding for a while,” he said.
“The TAWU negotiating team has been trying for a number of times to meet with Gravel and Concrete and we have been sort of unsuccessful…so as it stands right now, we are taking industrial actions at Gravel and Concrete”, he added.
The TAWU boss expressed concerns over the attitude of state-owned bodies to meeting to discuss issues with the local trade union movement.
“There seem to be a sort of development with these Statutory Bodies and with the government that they just want to stretch everything and delay everything but we have drawn lines – lines have been drawn. Enough time has passed”, he said.
Lewis pointed a finger at government as the principal owner of these state bodies whether it is Gravel and Concrete, National Lottery Authority, NAWASA, and the Airports Authority.
He said: “The Principal or the Parent is the government – they are the ones who select the boards and the boards have the responsibilities to set policies and to guide management and we are seeing a foot dragging and a lack of interest and therefore lines have been drawn”.
Lewis called on the authorities to respond to the Union’s request for a meeting and apologised to members of the public who are affected by the industrial action taken.
“The only thing that stands a possibility of resolving the industrial action right now first and foremost is a response from the authority, from Gravel and Concrete. Once we get a response, we evaluate it and see what happens going forward”, he said.
“…Our intention is not to have any negative impact on the public, our fight is with the management. If the public is impacted in any way as most likely they will, we want to apologise for that…”, he added.
A few weeks ago, TAWU ordered workers at the Lottery Authority to start wearing red arm bands in the face of an apparent unwillingness by management to meet around the table to discuss a new industrial contract for employees.