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WASA workers offered VESP
A Voluntary Early Separation Plan (VESP) has been offered to employees of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) as the company seeks to achieve increased viability and efficiency. However, president of the National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW), James Lambert, said his union had not accepted the plan as yet and would not do so until proper discussions between management and the union were held.
“NUGFW, which represents the daily-rated workers, have not accepted. We find the VESP is untimely as negotiations for 2008 have not yet been completed,” he told the T&T Guardian yesterday. He said the union recently went to the Industrial Court to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with regards to workers’ wages. He added: “This VESP is untimely. We have not discussed 2011-2013. We have not met officially to discuss this.”
Lambert said to his knowledge WASA needed many more daily-rated workers and reiterated his call for management to meet and discuss how the VESP offer would work. Head of corporate communications at WASA, Ellen Lewis, in a telephone interview, said the unions which represented WASA workers were aware the offer would be made.
She said the decision was not taken because of any financial constraints but only to optimise the authority’s performance. She added the offer would be on a voluntary basis “so an employee is not compelled to accept.” Lewis also said the authority had the right to decline applications and ask employees to reconsider their decisions.
In a press release to the T&T Guardian she stated:
“In this regard, those who access the programme will benefit from the following:
• Lumpsum payment, based on current salary;
• vacation leave buy-out;
• enhanced pension;
• immediate pension for life; and
• life skills training.”
Another part states: “These interventions are aimed at creating a platform for WASA to achieve viability and operational efficiency over a five-year period.” Workers who accept the offer also will receive assistance in areas like financial management, entrepreneurship, career planning, wellness and self care, at no cost.
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