The Commercial, Technical and Allied Workers Union (CTAWU), and the Central Water Sewerage Authority (CWSA), on Tuesday, August 30 signed a new collective agreement for the period 2021-2023.
General Manager of the CWSA, Garth Saunders told SEARCHLIGHT that “the negotiations were always open and often times robust, but always respectful of each party’s position and the expectation of full confidentiality while at the negotiating table.”
Additionally, Saunders noted that “over the years, there have been progressive improvements in the benefits package for the hard working employees of the CWSA who are always required to provide services of consistently high standard under normal routine conditions, and over the last decade, under frequent emergency situations brought on by climate change and recent natural hazards.”
President of the CTAWU, Joseph ‘Burns’ Bonadie told SEARCHLIGHT that “the negotiations went as we anticipated, because we have been negotiating for years now with the Central Water and Sewage Authority. This year, the negotiations went pretty well, because the union understood that we are operating in different times as a result of the pandemic, and the volcanic eruptions,”.
Bonadie said they were able to address a number of issues which came to the attention of the Union in relation to the work conditions.
“We had already dealt with most of the things which would have arisen out of the pandemic because we went through that experience in 2013, we went through that experience in previous floods and areas where pipes broke and what the workers had to do to restore the water supply to the rest of the citizens.”
Bonadie noted that the negotiations dealt with wage increases and issues related to pensions of employees.
“Previously, we had an in-house pension plan which the new management of the Water Authority had enhanced. Originally, the pension plan had applied to monthly workers of the water authority, but we corrected that.”
He described the negotiations as very cordial.
“There’s just one outstanding matter that we have to deal with, and it’s a question of the inflation and the increased prices of fuel dealing with the travelling officers,” Bonadie outlined.
“We agreed …is that what we will …leave that increase until we have the discussions with the central government, and to keep it in line with what [is]the government’s own policy…”
Saunders commended the leadership of the CTAWU, as well as the CWSA Board of Directors for always prioritizing the well-being of the employees, therefore making his job so much easier.