PR — The management of Grenlec granted permission to the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers’ Union (GTAWU) to hold a meeting with Grenlec team members on Monday, 13 July 2020 about the Company’s decision to schedule a portion of annual vacation leave for team members who were not working during the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Team members remained off the job for the entire day.
Regrettably, two previous unauthorised meetings disrupted the Company’s operations and on Monday, 6 July delayed the start of service at Grenlec’s Customer Care Centre at Grenville.
The Company is disappointed that GTAWU is taking industrial action at this time without following the grievance procedure.
The reality is that the Company paid all team members their full salaries and maintained all their benefits during the lockdown, even though the majority of team members were not working from 26 March.
The issue is that Grenlec scheduled vacation for team members who were not working from 20 April – 20 May 2020. This vacation schedule applied to leave carried over from previous years and up to 50% of the 2020 vacation allocation. The Company decided to preserve at least 50% of each team member’s 2020 vacation allocation, so team members could request time off later this year. Grenlec made no agreement with GTAWU that team members’ vacation would not be scheduled during the lockdown period.
In the normal course, although the requests of staff members are considered, companies schedule vacation based on the needs of the business and this is what Grenlec has done.
The Company has never suggested that it scheduled vacation for team members to recover the discount given to customers. This issue of vacation for team members is completely unrelated to the discount given as part of Grenlec’s partnership with Government.
GTAWU is demanding that all employees are paid full salaries whether they were working or not, with no consideration given to the necessity to schedule vacation leave.
The State of Emergency and circumstances of COVID-19 have required some changes in Grenlec’s operations and have significantly impacted the Company’s sales, collections and revenue. Notwithstanding this, the Company is committed to safeguarding our team members’ livelihood and maintaining reliable service.
Given the impact on all businesses in the country and projections for the future, Grenlec believes that a responsible and reasonable approach requires contributions and shared sacrifices from businesses as well as employees to make sure that our operations remain sustainable.
The Company has referred the matter to the Labour Commissioner for resolution.