State media merger
Union objects to severing workers
Stabroek News
November 7, 2003

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The Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU) is insisting that job security and continuity of employment principles be observed during the merger of the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and the Guyana Tele-vision Broadcasting Company (GTV).

This was revealed during a meeting the union held on Monday afternoon with its members who are employed with the entities. And following a meeting with the Privatisation Unit (PU) earlier this week, sources told Stabroek News that the union is unhappy with the terms of severance presented by the PU. According to the government source the parties have scheduled another meeting for next week when efforts will be made to work towards reaching a middle ground.

An employee who attended Monday’s meeting at the union’s Waterloo and Quamina streets headquarters, said that officials told workers that at no time had they agreed to the idea of severance. Members were told that further that the Office of the President, through Adviser Kellawan Lall and Press Liaison Robert Persaud, had mentioned things to the workers that they did not reveal at a meeting with the union on October 24.

The employee told Stabroek News that the union saw this as heightening the frustration and fear within the entities.

An issue that arose during the meeting surrounded attempts by OP to seek to exclude the union from any further participation in the company, the source told this newspaper.

CCWU General Secretary, Grantley Culbard, questioned on the details of Monday’s meeting said that the union was using the opportunity to put its position out, while seeking its members’ guidance on how to proceed. According to Culbard, the members said the union’s direction and leadership would guide them on the matter.

Asked about the meeting with the PU, Culbard said that no details had emerged from that engagement, since it was merely exploratory. The meeting looked at basic issues such as the current structures within the two entities and what the structure would look like in the new company, Culbard said.

According to Culbard, the PU is expected to make a presentation, which it will submit to the union for its scrutiny.

He acknowledged that another meeting is planned for next week, which is intended to get into the ‘nitty gritty’ of the merger. The union leader appealed for patience to allow the PU to develop its proposal. He said the union’s position remained unchanged, with it supporting the merger in principle while opposing anything that would lead to large-scale redundancies.