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Wednesday 18 October 2017
Local

GML workers get retrenchment letters

Disappointed but not surprised. This was the reaction of an employee of Guardian Media Limited (GML) after she was given a letter of retrenchment this morning.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, was one of 31 employees identified to receive retrenchment letters today from the GML's Human Resources (HR) Department; located at its Chaguanas head office.

"When I found out retrenchment was going to happen, I knew that being one of the last people hired, there was a possibility of my being retrenched. So when I got the news on Wednesday to come to HR today (Thursday) to collect a letter, I wasn't entirely surprised but I was disappointed.

The retrenched GML employee shared that when she went into HR today, "they asked if I knew what I was here for. I said I had a fair idea."

"They then proceeded to tell me the company was going through (restructuring) and I was one of those selected; based entirely on the Last In, First Out (LIFO) criteria. HR gave me a listing of jobs available across all of the ANSA McAL Group; as you know, (GML) is a subsidiary. They said if I was interested in anything, I could apply and in (if hired), my retrenchment would be shifted to me moving over to continued employment in a different sector of the group."

Asked if she intended to do so, the GML employee told Newsday, "No. Nothing that I'm aware of applies to me in terms of my skills."

Under the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act, employees are to be given 45 days notice of retrenchment. In the case of this GML employee, her last working day is in early October.

"I don't have the letter with me right now," she told Newsday, "but it's either October 2 or 3, 2017 that's my last working day. The letter stated that while I'm still employed until that time, my services are no longer required. So I won't be reporting to work for the rest of my time with GML."

Newsday attempted to speak with senior management of GML but neither calls nor emails were responded to as of press time today.

We did however get through to the recognised majority union for GML workers - the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU).

A senior union official confirmed that retrenchment letters were handed out; as was indicated in a letter sent from GML to BIGWU on Wednesday.

"Some of the workers were quite disappointed. Let's compare this to a marriage. This (retrenchment) comes like if a husband suddenly tells his wife of so many years that he wants a divorce. As far as the wife knows, she's been a good spouse. So like a wife in such a situation, GML workers feel cheated, especially because, as far as the union can determine, their job functions are not surplus and are likely going to be taken on by the remaining workers."

The BIGWU official added that the copies of these retrenchment letters that he's seen "do not provide any information to support the company's argument that there is surplus labour."

The union is scheduled to hold a meeting at its Barataria head office on Saturday afternoon to discuss the latest developments at GML.

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