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Cabrera levels allegations against employers

Published: 
Saturday, August 12, 2017
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Banking Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) President Vincent Cabrera during yesterday’s press conference. Photo by:NICOLE DRAYTON

President of the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) Vincent Cabrera has raised questions about the number of retrenchments currently taking place in T&T, while also leveling allegations against a number of local organizations.

Speaking yesterday at a press conference hosted at the Union’s head office in Barataria, Cabrera stated that companies such as Guardian Media and CL Financial subsidiary Eastern Commercial Lands were engaging in “unnecessary” retrenchments which he described as “unpatriotic”

The union leader also questioned the legitimacy of Guardian Media’s financial statements.

He said: “”Let me say from the outset, that BIGWU has evidence which we have already placed before the industrial court arising out of a complaint already lodged by the union for an order against the employer for a commission of an industrial relations offence that this employer has skillfully, or rather not so skillfully, manipulated the presentation of figures to the trade union in an attempt to dupe us into believing that the print section of the GML had been losing money.” Cabrera said

However, in an immediate response to Cabrera’s allegations, Guardian Media issued the following statement: “At a press conference today, BIGWU President Vincent Cabrera made certain statements regarding Guardian Media’s performance and its relationship with its majority shareholder, ANSA McAL Limited. As a publicly traded company, our financial statements are published every quarter and are independently audited on an annual basis in accordance with international accounting standards. We have nothing to hide and we stand by our financial statements. As a result, Guardian Media totally rejects Mr Cabrera’s inaccurate allegations. Furthermore, we will not engage in conducting negotiations through the media.

At the same conference, Mr Cabrera erroneously stated that Guardian Media had served retrenchment notices on “33 plus 16 workers”. In 2016, 16 workers were retrenched after the conclusion of an extensive consultation process. However, we wish to emphasise that the current consultation process has not been concluded and no further retrenchment notices have been served to date.

We remain committed to positive and fruitful dialogue with the union in search for the best possible long term outcome for all Guardian Media stakeholders. It must also be noted that good faith and established industrial relations collective bargaining practices dictate that it is inappropriate for us to make any comment relating to potential restructuring before the consultation process has been completed.”

See Editorial on Page A16