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Lotto workers intensify strike against unfair treatment

General Manager Jeffrey Gilbert – is overworked as a result of the strike action

Strike action that commenced at the state-owned Grenada National Lotteries Authority (GNLA) last week Tuesday was intensified this week by their bargaining agents, the Grenada Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU).

Under the directive of TAWU, the workers showed up at the main office daily but did not engage in any meaningful work.

On Tuesday, the workers accompanied by colleagues from NLA branches nation-wide, assembled in front of the nearby Old Hubbard’s Motor Department with placards and drums, accompanied by senior member of the TAWU Executive Godwin Thomas, who shed some light on the issue in an interview with reporters who visited the scene.

Thomas confirmed that the 40 plus striking workers are peeved at the attitude of the GNLA Management in salary negotiations with the union but did not disclose the details as it relates to the figures involved and outstanding since 2016.

The TAWU official also spoke of regularisation issues surrounding “three workers” and another whose name was given as “Jodie Alexander, who has been working in a supervisory position for the last two years and five months, a position that she is not being properly compensated for.”

“We want that to be fixed as well,” said one employee Amilcar George, who recalled that when he started working at NLA, he too “received similar treatment to what Jodie is receiving.”

George, who is the NLA Business Development and Marketing Assistant and has been employed with the Authority since April 2008, delved into the flesh of the matter revealing that “in 2016, there were some changes and promises made of yearly updates on salaries and every year since 2016, the current Board asks for a month and then a month stretches into a year and it’s been over two years now since they last addressed workers salaries”.

“So, this is something that is like a character of the NLA and the NLA’s Management and its relationship with its Board of Directors. We want the NLA to be more as a family and we want the Board to be more responsive to the NLA workers needs and we feel as if they don’t care about us and we are trying to show them through this action that we are here and they need to acknowledge us and give us what we deserve,” he added.

George went on: “What’s going on in my mind is that all they are concerned about is the bottom line and whether (or not) the company is making money. They don’t care about how the company is making money or what are the mechanisms in place that ensure that the company is making money.

“So, we want them to acknowledge those mechanisms now – us the workers. We are the ones behind the screens holding it up and doing all the groundwork”.

According to George most of the departments have been shut down as a result of the strike action except for the technical department, which was being held up by the General Manager, Jeffrey Gilbert and a skeleton staff.

It is understood that the NLA Board of Directors, whose Chairman is Devon Charles, the manager of the Grenville Co-operative Credit Union, held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the situation and was expected to communicate their position to the workers sometime this week.

Thomas told the media that he expects “good sense to prevail and that there would be no need to continue heightening the struggle.”

The Lottery Authority was established in 1982 by the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop to help promote sports, culture and nation building.

GNLA is responsible for the running of several games – Bingo, Lotto (local weekly jackpot game), Super 6 (Windward Islands jackpot game), Daily Pick 3 (local daily game) and a wide variety of Scratch (instant) game.

The NLA is the second state-owned entity to be hit by strike action in recent weeks over outstanding issues.

Workers at the T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) are currently engaged in industrial action over more than EC$6.1 million dollars in outstanding increments.

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