In the midst of thousands of employees losing their jobs in T&T, Angostura Holdings Ltd has added 54 permanent staff members to its organiSation.
Speaking at an MOU signing between Angostura and the Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU), CEO of Angostura, Ian Forbes said that improving the company’s supply chain remains part of Angostura’s five-year strategic plan and in order to accomplish this, it needed more staff members.
He said: “The issue is the lack of adequate resources to fill the demand that we are creating, have often been in times past, a hindrance to our expansion.”
Forbes noted that increased administrative costs can never be equated to the costs of lost opportunity.
He said: “We are not concerned so much with the administrative costs as we are concerned with the opportunity cost of supplying the demand for our products.”
The SWWTU President Michael Annisette praised the decision taken by the company.
He said: “Angostura did not say ‘ay we going through problems’ alright let us cut staff’. Angostura did not say like some other companies, ‘this is too costly an exercise and it will be cheaper to outsource workers’”.
The company increased its headcount by thirty-four in 2019 and in 2017-2018 the staff grew by twenty. The Executive Manager of corporate services at Angostura, Rahim Mohammed, noted: “The administrative expenses going up for the thirty-four is negligible, and I would say account for maybe one per cent or less of our admin expenses.”
He added that the value the increase in staff brings is eighty to ninety times the cost of employing new staff. Mohammed said: “The return on what we’re doing is very significant.”
Meanwhile, Anisette continued to say that Angostura partnered with the Union and the workers and combined the collective wisdom of all parties with an intention to grow.
He said this was done “in the interest of Angostura and by extension, the management and the workers who will benefit from whatever growth that Angostura has.”
Annisette added it is noteworthy that Angostura and SWWTU could have collaborated effectively in an economy that is on a decline and where contract workers are begin laid off.
He said that it is indicative of a new era of industrial relations where the Union is included in management decisions from the initial stages, rather than being informed afterwards.
The collaborative approach is necessary, said Annisette. He added: “It cannot be antagonistic, it cannot be we against them because at the end of the day, what happens in circumstances of that nature is that you fall by the wayside.”
Annisette also welcomed the two-shift system that will be introduced at Angostura. There was only a one-shift system at the company, which was a 7 am to 4 pm. The reason the company has implemented the system is with the anticipation of the future growth of the company.
“The two-shift system is absolutely necessary for the very survival and the existence of Angostura and by extension, if Angostura fails, the workforce fails,” said Annisette.