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Sunday 16 June 2019
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CWU, TSTT go to court over dismissals

THE Communications Workers Union (CWU) and TSTT will be going to the Industrial Court over the company’s decision to fire 503 workers in November.

This was disclosed yesterday by CWU general secretary Clyde Elder after talks with the company at the Labour Ministry on Duke Street in, Port of Spain.

Elder said the union insists the retrenchment of these workers was wrong. While the CWU was willing to negotiate a resolution, Elder said TSTT was not.

As a result, Elder said the ministry will tell the court the matter is unresolved and the court will determine a date for the matter to be heard.

Elder said it is the union’s hope these workers would either be reinstated or be compensated for loss of employment. The meeting, he continued, also dealt with the redeployment of people still working at TSTT. Elder said the company agreed to speak with the union on that issue.

Elder said there was no discussion about the 51 TSTT executives who were fired earlier this week, as they were not represented by the CWU. He also said the company has not apologised to him for bodily removing him from its Nelson Street exchange on Wednesday, when he went to hear the workers’ concerns.

In a statement, TSTT said it was never advised of any scheduled union meeting at the exchange and claimed there appeared to be a deliberate attempt to thwart any efforts by the company to ensure its organisational transformation is seamless.

Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) T&TEC branch president Peter Burke said the OWTU is concerned about possible retrenchment at T&TEC.

Burke said the commission is short 400 field workers and 300 administrative workers and the shortage of the former has resulted in T&TEC hiring contractors to fill the gap. The OWTU is concerned these contractors could put pressure on the Government to retrench T&TEC workers.

Burke also said over the years, the commission has hired a number of temporary workers it does not need.

He said the OWTU is not assured by ministerial claims that T&TEC will not be touched, and T&TEC is in a situation where it needs more workers and not fewer.

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