Our Readers' Opinions
January 16, 2009
LIME clears the air on CTAWU partnership


Editor: LIME (previously Cable and Wireless) has always had a good relationship with the CTAWU and can boast of having one of the best Collective Bargaining Agreements between a Union and any company in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. LIME can also boast of having an unchallenged record of engagement with its stakeholders.{{more}}

We wish to outline the level of engagement on the issue of redundancies that both LIME and the CTAWU were engaged in:

  • May 2008: Chairman of Cable and Wireless International, John Pluthero, presented the performance and the future direction of the business to investors and analysts. An important part of what John said directly related to changes that will be made to the Caribbean business.
  • May 22nd, 2008: Letter was sent to the CTAWU outlining in detail highlights of the Chairman’s address to the market to the General Secretary on the 22nd May, 2008.
  • 23rd May, 2008: Discussions were held with executive officials from the CTAWU and LIME. Present were the President of CTAWU, Miss Alice Mandeville, and the General Secretary, Mr. Lloyd Small, and from LIME were Mr. Angus Steele, CE and Mrs. Sandra Matthews, Vice President, Human Resources. This meeting was held at the Union House. The question was raised of persons being made redundant and mention was made of all categories of workers but was unable to say the number of persons at that time.
  •  11th September, 2008: A second meeting was held at the Chief Executive’s office with the aforementioned members of Cable and Wireless and the CTAWU to discuss the plans going forward regarding the One Pan Caribbean Company, LIME. The discussions were particularly centered around redundancies and the General Secretary, Mr. Small, reminded the gathering that by law any number of employees five (5) or more to be made redundant consectively or simultaneously, the Labor Commissioner must be advised accordingly (Act No 20 of 2003, section 12 (3) of the protection of employment act).
  • 27th November, 2008; A letter was sent to the Union to remind it of the changes the company will be going through and the possibility that there might be a reduction of the work force. The CTAWU was informed by this letter that there will be a gradual phasing out of additional staff over the next ten months and that there will be continual discussions with the Union and staff. A meeting was scheduled for Monday, 1st December, 2008, at 10:30 am, in the Country Manager’s office, to discuss same.
  • 28th November: Letter sent to the Labor Commissioner informing her that over the Next ten (10) months the company is proposing to reduce its workforce here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The letter further stated that LIME is not in a position to disclose the names of the persons who will be affected at this time, but will continue to engage the office of the Commissioner in the process as the information becomes available.
  •  1st December: LIME Country Manager and Vice President, Human Resources, met with CTAWU Executives General Secretary, Mr. Lloyd Small, the President Miss Alice Mandeville, 1st Vice President, Miss Louise Glasgow, and Shop steward, Mr. Lincoln Prescott (LIME employee) at LIME Country Manager’s office. At this meeting the Union was advised that possibly up to forty five (45) persons will exit the company over the next ten months and the Labor Department will be notified accordingly.
  •  9th December: The Labor Commissioner responded by informing us that based on the Employment Act No. 20 of 2003 section 12 which deals with termination due to redundancies, the Act does not stipulate that an employer provide names of persons, but once five or more employees would be affected, section 12 (3) (C) states that the Labor Commissioner must be informed of the number of categories of persons involved.
  •  30th December: LIME sent a letter to inform the Labor Commissioner of the following category of persons exiting the company December 31st, 2008:

Personalized staff – 3 persons
Bargaining Unit staff – 3 persons
Temporary staff – 3 persons

Letter was also sent to CTAWU.

As of the end of December 2008, nine (9) employees have exited the company. Three of the nine (9) employees requested voluntary separation. They were all paid based on the Union’s contract, 4.75 weeks for each year of service, plus one month salary in lieu of notice.

The information mentioned above is a clear indication that LIME has been very open and transparent with ALL of its stakeholders during this process. LIME wishes to state categorically that whenever the Company held consultations with the Union, the Union was always represented by a full team of its elected executive members. For anyone to suggest that LIME officials met with one person from the Union’s executive is a grave misrepresentation of the facts.

LIME has always promised its stakeholders that employees will be treated in a fair and respectful manner and based on the information supplied, the conclusion can be made that all employees, Union and Labor Department were kept updated and will continue to be updated as this process continues to unfold.

Angus Steele
Country Manager