Basseterre, St. Kitts, Thursday, 8th November, 2018, (MyVueNews.com) – Tens of workers employed at the C.A. Paul Southwell Industrial Park on St. Kitts, are due to lose their jobs in coming months.
This disclosure has come from the Minister of Labour, Vance Amory, who revealed that one of the longest serving factories at the park, Lutron Liamuiga Limited, had officially informed the Labour Department of its intent to close operations, from 1st March, 2019.
Approximately 100 workers are currently employed at the factory which has been operating in St. Kitts for 31 years.
In correspondence dispatched to the Labour Department, dated, 31st October, 2018, Amory said Lutron outlined that its decision was due to U.S. Government Regulatory changes, made in 2007, leading to a decrease in the demand for its products.
In his radio and television address on Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, the Minister of Labour, further explained that Lutron, in its October correspondence, stated that the US Government regulations enshrined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, in 2007, prohibited the manufacture and use of 100 Watt incandescent bulbs.
In addition, Amory stated that, Lutron revealed that in 2013 there was a similar prohibition on 60 Watt and 40 Watt Incandescent bulbs.
The company said that this had the effect of reducing Lutron’s market for its incandescent lighting products to 5% overtime and it placed significant challenges on the company.
Lutron said it engaged its workers on finding the best way forward, in light of the new US regulations. One option was the introduction of a new system of production and a change in the technology to improve the efficiency of the operations and to maintain a competitive edge.
However, the new method, which is called the Self Balancing System, would have required employees to adapt to a new protocol of work. Workers at the plant are said to have rejected the new system.
Amory said that Lutron explained, and his Labour Department confirmed, that workers suggested, in consultation with management, that the plant be closed.
Lutron said that the workers suggested that instead of introducing and investing in the new system, the company should use the funds to invest in the employees.
The company has therefore worked out, in consultation with the Labour Department, a package of separation, and will see employees based on years of service, receiving ex gratia payments, in addition to their severance payments from Government.
Also, workers are to receive special training and assistance to find new jobs, following the March, 2019 closure, said Amory.
Photo courtesy SKNVibes.