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PWU calls out Nawasa

Rachael Roberts – the President of the largest public sector union on the island

President of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Rachael Roberts has issued a strong warning to the state-owned National Water & Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) on the violation of the rights of workers.

In an interview with THE NEW TODAY, Roberts accused the water utility of not prepared to follow the Collective Bargaining Agreement process that was signed with the trade union movement for its employees.

“…We just want to say to Nawasa respect the rights of workers there and do not try to violate our Collective Bargaining Agreement because that is what’s happening within that institution,” she said.

According to Roberts, the management of the water utility is guilty of “continuous violation of certain rights that we have in our Collective Bargaining Agreement” and called on them “to stop violating our Collective Bargaining Agreement and do the right thing.”

“Stop violating the rights of workers. We have a case that we fighting in Nawasa for some years now and we cannot seem to be able to resolve that matter because Nawasa does not want to own up to the truth that they are violating the rights of that worker.

“We are going to make it public if it becomes necessary. We are at the Ministry of Labour with that matter and if we do not get it resolved we are going to make it public.

Roberts also referred to a problem that surfaced in December with Nawasa in which the utility was not prepared to honour bonus payments due to workers even if it had the necessary financial resources.

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She said: “The workers in Nawasa normally stand up for their rights and if the workers did not stand up for their rights we would not have had the honouring of the Collective Bargaining Agreement”.

“Nawasa was saying to the workers that they want to defer your bonuses at the end of the year and the workers had to stand up and say no – this has been earned. Why is Nawasa seeking to violate these workers’ rights?

According to Roberts, another issue that PWU has with the utility concerns the appointment of workers to the correct position based on their skills and for them to be properly remunerated.

“We have a situation in Nawasa right now where that is being violated and it has been violated for a number of years and we have been with the Ministry of Labour – we have called back Nawasa on the table to see if we can resolve it with them but we are not making any headway,” she said.

Roberts said that PWU will be going back to the water utility for another session this month at the Ministry of Labour to see if the parties can make headway, failing which it intends to go public with the issue.