GAWU should rethink its position on redundancy of employees at Diamond Estate

Dear Editor,

I cannot comprehend why GAWU would want to make redundant four hundred employees at Diamond Estate.  For starters, this will entail a considerable reduction in union dues, so obviously, self-interest is not a consideration.  At the same time, given the lack of employment opportunities, redundancy will definitely create some amount of hardship to those employees.

While it may look attractive receiving a lump sum payment this should be weighed against the long-term benefit of receiving a GuySuCo pension at retirement and a guaranteed NIS pension at age 60 once continuously employed.

That apart, making employees redundant is a function of the employer as stated under Section 12(1) of the Termination of Employ-ment and Severance Pay Act unless there is a special clause to the contrary, which I am not privy to in the Collective Labour Agreement.  It is clearly stated in Section 12(2)(d) that an employer can make employees redundant due to reorganization of his business in order to improve efficiency.

In this particular case redundancy is not an initiative of GuySuCo, which is the substantive employer whether at Diamond or LBI estate, but by the union.

It is also stated in the act, that an employee is not entitled to redundancy payment where he/she unreasonably refuses to accept an offer of re-employment by the employer in the same place of employment or where suitable alternative employment is provided within a radius of 10 miles therefrom under conditions no less favourable than previously enjoyed prior to termination. Section 21(4)(d).

In this case employees are not terminated but absorbed within the corporation on presumably the same or similar conditions of employment.

Based on the foregoing, I believe that the union should rethink its position since GuySuCo is under no obligation to pay severance where employees refuse to comply with Section 21(4) (d) of the act.

Yours faithfully,
D Sookdeo

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