Union considers legal action against GTT over sacking of workers

The Postal and Telecommunications Workers Union (PTWU) is considering taking the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) to court again after the company laid off another 15 workers last month, in breach of a court agreement.

Speaking to Stabroek News yesterday, PTWU President Harold Shepherd said that the union’s attorney, Stanley Moore, wrote a letter to the company giving it seven days’ notice with respect to the employees whose services were terminated.

“The letter was addressed to the CEO [Justin Nedd], pointing out that the company would’ve breached the consensual order that was signed between the union and the company on April 12 and they would’ve also acted in violation of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act and the Collective Labour Agreement,” Shepherd said.

He added that the PTWU also requested that since the company’s actions breached the order, it should reinstate the employees until meaningful consultations are held and both parties arrive at a decision that is beneficial to all.

He said that in the event that the company does not acknowledge the letter, then the union will be forced to return to the courts or consider industrial action. “At this point in time, we have not made a determination whether we will act in conjunction or take some sort of industrial action. The union’s executives have to meet to make such a decision,” Shepherd said.

He explained that while the consent order was signed and the two parties were supposed to meet to have “meaningful” discussions, this had not happened and the two meetings that were held did not result in any meaningful conclusions. He added that the union would’ve requested information on the employees and other details about the company but GTT had never complied.

“The Acts make provisions in certain areas so the company can avoid making such a drastic decision to terminate employees. There must be mitigating circumstances, like placing employees in order departments,” he said, while pointing out that the union always protested against the company’s high number of contracted employees and suggested that some of those contracted employees could be replaced with the ones GTT wants to retrench.

In February, the telecommunications company had announced in a statement that it would be restructuring its operations and therefore 120 employees would be made “redundant.”

However, even though the company had released a statement, the PTWU had explained to Stabroek News that no consultations were done with the union, which Shepherd said was a violation of the collective labour agreement.

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