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Postal union heads to court over managers’ pay raise

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The T&T Postal Workers Union (TTPWU) has taken the management of TTPost to court for what it has deemed to be a violation of good industrial practices after claims that increases in salaries were signed off on without the approval of the union.

The union’s president, David Forbes, said the matter was filed in the Industrial Court in Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

He said Section 40 of the Industrial Relations Act stated that the union was the recognised body to negotiate on behalf of the workers.

But, Forbes said, this was not the case when increases were granted to middle managers and upper contract workers last month.

For the managers, he said, the increase would have been as much as $3,000 while the contract workers would have received between $2,000 and $1,500 in increases. 

“TTPost should not have gone ahead and increased the salaries for the workers because we were already engaged in discussions with the management and workers. The workers agreed to a point but they had some concerns.

“Some of the concerns include how the increases were applied...was it a percentage increase? We do not know because some employees got a higher increase than others. There was also a blank position with workers getting any allowances,” Forbes said.

He said all the union was seeking was the continuation of collective negotiations.

“Some workers are not happy with the percentage increase and inside of that are proposals to deal with other terms and conditions including hours of work and overtime rates.

“All this is what we would have to sit down and discuss and management went ahead and say how many working days to be given for vacation. They also did not treat with sick leave,” Forbes said.

Last month, TTPost managing director Reynold Baldeosingh said the management received an offer from the CPO on December 8, via the permanent secretary, for salary increases to middle management and other supervisory staff. 

“The letter clearly stated that the CPO did not recognise the TTPWU as the bargaining union for the period 2011 to 2014. This information was submitted to the union in writing together with the offer for the staff. The management did not make a direct offer to the 17 staff (members),” he said then.

Baldeosingh added he was aware that the union subsequently held a meeting with the relevant staff and conveyed the CPO’s offer.

He later said the other approximately 950 workers received a 14 per cent salary increase in October.

Industrial action looming

At a press conference last month, workers said they were also forced to sew mail bags with gaping holes.

An order was made since 2014 for new bags but only half were delivered recently, Forbes said.

He said even umbrellas were not supplied in a timely manner.

Workers would also be meeting on Saturday to discuss what action the union intended to take.

“We have given the management enough time to say what they intended to do and have written several letters but to date we have gotten no reply,” Forbes added.

He said the union also sent a letter to management yesterday asking how it intended to treat with the seven per cent cut in government spending as announced by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

Workers, Forbes added, were also fearful for their jobs.

Contacted yesterday, an official of TTPost said the company had no comment to make at this time.