A possible showdown is in the making between the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) and the Grenada Ports Authority (GPA) over the treatment of a female employes at the state-controlled statutory body.
The union, led by newly appointed labour representative in the Senate, Andre Lewis, has accused the Board of Directors of the Port Authority of displaying a hatred mentality towards one female employee.
TAWU is taking issue with the decision of GPA to remove the female worker as a pilot and to place her in a position that is not in-keeping with her qualifications.
Cindy Samuel, who has been a pilot for over 14 years has had her license revoked and given a desk job at the Queens Warehouse on the port.
TAWU responded to the move by ordering port workers to down tools last week Friday afternoon to attend a meeting to give solidarity to Samuel.
The union is claiming that the female employee was being victimised over her failure to side with the GPA Board on an issue involving another worker.
President General Lewis told reporters that the Board of Directors is being put on notice to reinstate the worker or face the repercussions for their action against her.
“That’s a sister who …. went and do the necessary studies and she’s qualified and they want to fight her down. They took away her license and put her in the Queens Warehouse basically saying that the job of a woman is under a shed or doing paper work, not to do what men are known to be doing”, he said.
“…There was an ongoing issue and everything was resolved but there are a number of things…where she decided to stick to her point on a particular matter that others wanted her to change and they saw her as being rude”, he added.
Lewis stressed that the employee is correct to hold onto her position and warned that “we will not allow the port to get away with that”.
He said that although Samuel’s salary was not affected by the action taken against her the fact remains that it seeks to compromise her principles.
“It’s not about the pay – even if they are prepared to give her twice time what she was making as a pilot, she prefers to stay as a pilot. She is qualified as a pilot. This is not a case where she is not qualified, this is not a case where she asked to be moved or where there is doubt.
“We represent pilots and we know pilots have been kept on for worst things because we are here to represent people, so we find compromises and save their jobs…what did she do wrong… only because she is a woman.”
“So, it’s not about payment, it’s about the fulfillment of a dream, it’s about the fulfillment of an ideal, it’s about the fulfillment of reaping the rewards and the sacrifices that one would have made to equip themselves and this is the message that we need to send to the public, to our young girls, young daughters, young boys, that you can dream your dream, equip yourselves, follow your path and you will be successful.
The TAWU boss insisted that Samuel must be reinstated as a pilot and the union will not be holding any meetings with the board until it is done.
Father of Samuel, court bailiff Terry Registe expressed strong support for her, saying that she spent thousands of U.S Dollars to help her become a qualified pilot with a license.
Registe believes that the GPA is discriminating against his daughter.
There has been no official response from the Port on the Samuel issue.