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February 7, 2014
Workers stay off the job as LIME negotiations sour

General Manager of LIME Leslie Jack said that services were not seriously affected, after workers at the telecommunications company stayed off the job for a second straight day yesterday.{{more}}

Employees returned to work today, after staging a two day ‘sick out’ when a stalemate was reached in negotiations for an increase in salaries, during a meeting held on February 4 involving the company’s executive and representatives of the Commercial, Technical and Allied Workers Union (CTAWU), a source, who requested that they not be identified, told SEARCHLIGHT.

The source said that a proposal was submitted to management back in November, 2013 and they were waiting for a date to be announced for a meeting.

“We got word last week that that meeting with management would be held on February 4,” the source said.

The source said the meeting lasted just over four hours and many issues were discussed.

At the centre of those negotiations was the issue of increases in the cost of living among others – including proposed increases in travel and overnight allowances, and issues relating to health and safety.

But the main issue, which both parties failed to agree on, according to the source, was that of a salary increase.

“The company is a good company, it has always taken care of its workers, but at this time we were just not able to get to that position where both parties would have been comfortable with the decisions made,” the source explained.

“Right now, with General Manager of cost of living constantly on the rise, we found it necessary to take a stand,” the source continued.

A subsequent meeting was held with the general body where they were informed of the decision of management and it was agreed all across the board that a sick out would be staged, the source said.

On Wednesday, there was between 80 and 85 percent compliance, however the source told SEARCHLIGHT that there was full compliance yesterday.

It was hoped that the impasse would end, he said, allowing for the negotiations to continue, “and get a movement one way or another.”

He told SEARCHLIGHT that he anticipated that a response from management was imminent.

“Then hopefully we will be able to set something.”

Regarding future plans, the source said that he did not want to say too much.

“We do have a road map if necessary and we would definitely use it once we need to,” he said.

Country Manager, Leslie Jack told SEARCHLIGHT on Thursday that he thought that the industrial action was premature because the deliberations between LIME and the CTAWU were not complete.

Jack said that both sides met last Tuesday, for the first time, and that they were in the process of negotiating a new collective agreement.

“LIME over the years have maintained a good working relationship with the union and it will continue in the same manner and has always worked with them in an amicable, fair and transparent manner,” Jack said.

He said that he expected that both sides would be able to work out their differences and that operations would return to normal.

Jack further explained that there had been no major impact as a result of the industrial action taken.

According to the country manager the technical aspects of operations were being handled by private contractors and their services were being utilized throughout the country.

“Customers don’t know what’s going on, it has been completely seamless,” Jack said. (DD)