The Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) could be on a collision course with One Caribbean Media (OCM), the parent company of the Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN) over recent protest action by employees against Acting General Manager, Odette Best-Campbell.
President-General of the union, Andre Lewis is not impressed with a letter sent by company Chief Executive Officer, Gregory Camejo, in which he warned the media employees against taking any further industrial action.
Lewis, the current Senator for Labour in the Upper House of Parliament, warned that no one will be allowed to “tell us when to take industrial action”.
“…This action was taken to highlight the plight of the workers in the company. It is not an action against the company – the workers are not against the company, the workers want to work, the workers want the company to be effective and efficient…”, he said.
Camejo has dismissed the recent protest action taken by the GBN employees as “inappropriate” since there are “more meaningful and efficient methods to communicate any form of employee dissatisfaction”.
The GBN workers have listed a number of grievances against Best-Campbell including abuse of power, abuse of workers, expletive-laden threats to workers, favouritism, cronyism and creeping nepotism.
The protest action taken a few weeks ago by GBN employees was aimed at getting OCM to remove her Best-Campbell from the position.
The CEO told the workers in his response letter that their complaints had no merit based on an investigation that was carried out.
Lewis brushed aside the letter from Camejo on the grounds that he is not aware of any thorough investigation that was done.
“That (response) can’t make sense, as I said, no investigation was carried out and the workers have had their experience. These workers did not just get up today for today and try to bring their plight to the attention of the public and management publicly”, he said.
“You (the local media) must be aware, based on your connection, from what have been reported by the workers that they have been having a number of challenges over the years that they have been trying to get addressed. So, this comment about the concerns are unfounded, the question would arise, how did the company come up with that, that the charges are unfounded and they did not interview the workers,” he added.
The TAWU boss questioned the credibility of the letter and contents.
He said: “Out of respect, if I could muster some respect, because I don’t think that the Chairperson would sink himself to such a low level. However, this is a letter coming from the company…just these utterances in this correspondence must indicate that it cannot be someone who holds a very senior position in the company, who is expected to be a leader in the company, one who is expected to be at an intellectual and academic level can make a statement of this that those things are unfounded, when for instance you have not carried out an investigation, you have not carried out an objective investigation.
“… You are yet to engage the bulk of workers who have signed the petition, the bulk of workers who took the action to bring light to the concerns that they have and therefore, I would hate to think that the person who wrote this letter gave thought to what they were doing. And if they thought they would have gotten away with something like this, it has just put the ball back in the court at the company and the company shall be held responsible and the author of this letter shall be held responsible for whatever may develop within the company,” he added.
According to Lewis, the objective of TAWU and the GBN staffers is to get an independent investigation conducted into their complaints and to “allow the chips to fall where they may.”
“There must be a proper investigation conducted because this is what we have demanded and this is what the company had agreed to and they would not be allowed to get through with any cover-ups. At the end of the day, allow the chips to fall where it may because an investigation, I cannot or no one can say what the outcome of an investigation will be, but it must be done and it must be done properly.
“I can tell you that not one of the workers was interviewed by the company following the correspondence that we have sent to the company’s Chairman.
Lewis disclosed that TAWU will be responding to OCM shortly to ensure that the concerns of the GBN workers are fully addressed.
He said: “…An investigation has been requested by the workers and the union. The workers would know what they would like to hear, but none of us can say with absolute certainty what the outcome of the investigation may be but …the workers have concerns, therefore it must be addressed”.