by Linda Straker
- Grenada Postal Corporation is statutory body under Ministry of Public Utilities
- Workers represented by Public Workers Union since late 2022
- From 1 January 2024, minimum salary in Grenada will be EC$60 per day or EC$1,200 per month
Brian Grimes, President of the Grenada Public Workers Union (GPWU), is accusing the management of the Grenada Postal Corporation (GPC) of engaging in tactics that can bust the union and, at the same time, violate Section 11 of the Grenada Constitution and Sections 40 and 41 of the Labour Relations Act.
In a news conference on 28 December, Grimes said that although the workers of the Postal Corporation have been represented by his union since late 2022, the management of the corporation at a meeting with staff on 27 December, demanded that all workers sign a 6-month contract to guarantee their jobs as of January 2024.
All workers at the corporation have personalised contracts, which expire on 31 December 2023.
“Some startling things were said to our membership by the management of the postal corporation at that meeting. They stated to staff in an intimidating fashion that if they do not sign the 6-month contract which has no increases, they in principle have forfeited their jobs,” Grimes told journalists at the new conference.
“We see this in no uncertain terms as union-busting at the highest level because they are not engaging with the union on a new contract, and they are trying to intimidate the staff by saying they (the management) can do better,” he disclosed.
Referring to Section 11 of the Constitution which states: “Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to trade unions or other associations for the protection of his interests,” Grimes said the action of the Postal Corporation is violating workers’ constitutional rights.
He also referred to Section 40 of the Labour Relations Act, which states: “Where a trade union has been certified as the exclusive bargaining agent for a bargaining unit, that trade union shall provide full and proper representation of the interests of all employees in the bargaining unit with respect to their rights under the collective agreement.”
He also read Section 41, subtitled “Duty to negotiate in good faith”, which states: “Where certification is granted, a trade union, employer, or employers’ organisation shall not fail or refuse to bargain collectively in good faith and to make every reasonable effort to conclude a collective agreement.”
Grimes said that the management of the Postal Corporation is claiming that a human resource audit which was scheduled to be completed by 31 December, is far from conclusion and as a result, the management’s option to continue employing the workers is on personalised contracts.
“But the workers are represented by a union, and all we are asking for is an increase to the existing salary until the findings and recommendations of the audit are implemented. They are saying 6 months, but before you know it, it’s a year,” he said.
The only workers who will be affected by a change in salary or wages are those who are currently receiving less than the new minimum wage which goes into effect as of 1 January 2024. As of that day, the minimum salary for a worker in Grenada will be EC$60 per day or EC$1,200 per month.
There are workers at the Postal Corporation currently receiving EC$720 per month. The Postal Corporation is a statutory body under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Utilities, part of the portfolio of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.