The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) has terminated the services of 15 more workers, according to head of the Guyana Postal and Telecommunications Workers Union (PTWU) Harold Shepherd, who says the company breached a court order requiring that it meaningfully consult with the union before proceeding.
“We have not contacted the company as yet but so far we are aware that at least 15 persons within the union’s bargaining unit were made redundant as of [Tuesday].
Obviously the company has not complied with the… order that was issued by the court and we are seeking the necessary guidelines from a wide perspective before we decide our next action,” Shepherd told Stabroek News.
Shepherd was unable to provide the names of the 15 employees or the departments where they worked.
Stabroek News was told that on Tuesday the 15 workers were called to the company’s headquarters on Brickdam, where they were informed that they were being laid off.
At a press conference in May, Shepherd had had announced that a consent order had been granted and GTT agreed to “engage in a process of notification and consultation with the Applicant Union under the terms of the Collective Labour Agreement be-tween the Union and the Respondent Company, and in compliance with the provision of section 12(3) of the Termination and Severance Pay Act Cap. 96:01, before implementing its termination of employment of unionised employees by reason of a Redundancy programme.” GTT further agreed to “continue to engage in a process of notification and consultation with the Chief Labour Officer under the terms of Section 12 (3) of the Termination and Severance Pay Act Cap. 96:01 before implementing its redundancy programme.”
When the company was contacted, an official, who did not want to be named, said, “We have obeyed the law.
We always obey the law and we followed the highest ethical standard.”
Since the order was made, Shepherd said the company and union had met three times. He said at the first meeting the union requested that GTT supply it with relevant data in terms of the structure of the company and the respective departments, and the number of temporary, and contract employees. However, he added that the other two meetings did not produce any meaningful discussions since the company failed to provide the information that the union had requested.
In February, GTT had announced in a statement that 120 employees would be made “redundant” as it was restructuring its operations. “GTT expects that about 120 positions would be made redundant over the next 12 months,” the statement had said, while pointing out so far six workers, drawn from multiple departments, were laid off.
However, the PTWU had said that no consultations were held with the union, which Shepherd said was unlawful and did not follow the Collective Labour Agreement be-tween GTT and the body.