(PRESS RELEASE) – Columbus Communications, trading as Flow, and the Saint Lucia National Workers Union (NWU) have concluded a first collective bargaining agreement (CLA)to benefit the company’s non-management staff.
The agreement governs the terms and conditions of employment of legacy Columbus colleagues and new entrants to the business.
The agreement aligns with the three-year collective CLA already in place for legacy Cable & Wireless employees, with both agreements due to expire on March 31st, 2018.
The CLA was signed by the Labour Commissioner, Ray Narcisse, along with shop stewards, representatives of the Flow senior leadership team, and representatives of the NWU. Speaking on behalf of the NWU, Senior Industrial Relations Specialist, Lawrence Poyotte said:
“We have enjoyed a good relationship with the company over the years, regardless of the challenges that we are confronted with, bearing in mind the changing nature of the workplace that is being driven by technology. Be that as it is, what we signed today is an interim agreement that covers the legacy Columbus employees, and the intention is that the parties will get back to the table as soon as possible to formalise a collective agreement that will cover the period effective April 1st going forward.”
Chris Williams, the Country Manager for Flow, thanked the union and staff for their cooperation in getting the ground-breaking agreement in place. He said:
“The union and the company always want the best for the employees. Sometimes we go about it in different ways, but the end game is to get the best for the employees. Now I am happy to sign this collective agreement, albeit it is only for a couple of months, hopefully, in the next couple of weeks we will be back at the table, and the same way we had this discussion and dialogue will continue.”
Under the terms of this deal, several clerical, technical, and other skilled workers will formally enjoy a variety of enhanced social and economic benefits, such as paternity leave, uniforms, overtime, payment for additional responsibilities, and travel allowances.
The NWU has been the exclusive bargaining agent for Flow staff since February 2017. The NWU now represents workers in all essential services on the island.