Workers end two month strike at Grenada Breweries Limited

The agreement to end the impasse came after the GBL and the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) agreeing to a nine per cent wage hike over a three year period.

The agreement was signed before Labour Minister Glynnis Roberts on Tuesday.

As part of the agreement, workers will receive a lump sum of eight months pay plus six months profit-sharing at the previous rate of seven per cent and the next six months at a rate of four per cent.

“As you know, it has been a difficult struggle; the lock-out has ended and the workers will all be reinstated,” TAWU president Chester Humphrey told a news conference that was also attended by officials from the GBL and the Grenada Conference of Churches.

Humphrey said the union had to concede on a number of issues including the profit sharing for the workers, but didn’t elaborate.

“Overall we can anticipate that workers will, at the end of it all, go home with approximately 11 months pay,” Humphrey said.

“There has been an adjustment to the profit sharing formula; an adjustment which was in place in 1991, in which the profits were based on a percentage of share-capital. That has now been shifted to shareholders equity.”

GBL lead negotiator, Patrick Antoine said that the negotiations which dragged on for more than two months were carried out in a very tense environment.

“The negotiations were carried out in a very tense environment because there were several important issues at stake both for the union and the company at this time.

“The company had a number of issues that it felt needed rebalancing. It is not unusual for the union, having those in old agreements to feel that they should be retained,” Antoine said.

Antoine told reporters that the company was pleased with the outcome of the talks that ended the strike which Prime Minister Tillman Thomas had warned could seriously affect the socio-economic development of the island.

“At the end of the day we had a compromise…where neither the company nor the union achieved its full negotiating agenda.

“We achieved sufficient to reach an agreement and the Union gave up, as it were, some of the old provisions regarding profit sharing…and we also entered territory which we did not intend to enter in relation to wages, Antoine said.

Workers were generally relieved that the standoff was over and that no one was laid off.

Shop Steward Randolph Johnson said the two months were a very tense and emotional period for many, as many of the workers were not able to meet their monthly commitments.

“It has been quite a challenge; it has been very emotional as well because…people have one source of income and that was hindered for over the past two months….so that has been quite a challenge…it has been tough.”

Many workers said they were pleased that the strike impasse had ended.

“Given the process and the way it ran, I have to say, to end up where no one actually lost their job, is very satisfying for me,” said shop steward Randolph Johnson, while chief shop steward Glen Douglas said he was hoping for a quick return to normalcy at the plant.

“It’s a kind of edgy situation to be honest. I’m not going to tell you that the transition going to be easy…but we all were in it together, workers managers and everybody going to be edgy. I think it would be a testing time for us. We’ll take it one day at a time and in a few weeks we will forget that we were outside,” he added.

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