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Suspend Machel’s contract—Communications Workers Union

Thursday, December 13, 2012
Soca artiste Machel Montano leaves the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court on Monday after being found guilty of assault. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Suspend soca artiste Machel Montano’s contract immediately. That’s the demand from Joseph Remy, president of the Communications Workers Union (CWU), as he reacted to proposed moves by Telecommunication Services of T&T (TSTT) to keep Montano’s contract intact. TSTT in a statement yesterday, said it planned to wait until January 17 (when he will be sentenced) before it made its decision whether to suspend the contract.


But Remy contends the contract should be suspended immediately. “We are convinced that immediately upon conviction, TSTT should have suspended that endorsement contract,” he added. Montano was convicted on Monday on four charges of assault and also of using obscene language during a fracas outside the Zen nightclub, Port-of-Spain, in April 2007.


Remy, who was speaking to the media outside of TSTT’s Human Resource Building, said TSTT’s image had been tarnished by Montano’s actions. He added: “Publicly scold him for bringing the image of the company in disrepute and engage in some kind of process with him, to engage in some kind of rehabilitation and thereafter the company can enter into any kind of contractual obligation, then, you would rebrand his image, then they will come with any kind of marketing strategy.”


He believes the funds saved from suspending Montano’s contract should be used to settle the negotiations. Remy said the current negotiations with TSTT regarding wage increases had reached a stalemate. This covers the 2008-2010 period for junior and senior staff after the tenth round of talks. Describing it as disrespectful, Remy said three per cent over three years was placed on the table by TSTT’s four-member negotiating team.


“We have taken the decision to break down these negotiations and refer them to the ministry of labour for conciliation,” he said. The union plans to have more protests, beginning next  Wednesday, at TSTT’s headquarters, St James Street, San Fernando, to express its outrage over the offer.


Remy said the protests would continue every week until there was a resolution to the wage negotiations. He outlined what CWU’s demands were for the workers. He said: “The union is at 17 per cent for the junior staff and 19 per cent for the senior staff. We have not seen any tangible effort by the company to make any move, not even on allowances have they made any move.”


Asked what would be the union’s move should the negotiations go to the Industrial Court, he said: “We have no intentions of it (the negotiations) going to the Industrial Court. We believe that with our action we are going to take is going to be resolved at the next level.”