CWU: TSTT retrenching 400

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Communication Workers Union union leader Clyde Elder

TSTT has issued retrenchment notices with almost immediate effect to about 400 employees, Communication Workers Union (CWU) head Clyde Elder told Newsday on Tuesday.

He said notices were served on Tuesday to take effect from Wednesday, with TSTT to pay in lieu of giving notice.

Elder said retrenchment notices were served to 376 staff who were members of the bargaining unit, that is, represented by the CWU.

He said retrenchment notices had also been sent to about 28 security guards represented by the Estate Police Association.

Elder said he had heard of a list of names of managers and professionals also being retrenched.

Elder said the CWU will lead workers in a protest march on Friday at 10 am in Port of Spain from TSTT on Henry Street to the Red House.

TSTT was due to make a statement later on Tuesday.

Speculation has run rife since last January, when TSTT summoned the CWU for talks on company restructuring, after a $453 million (18 per cent) drop in revenue that last fiscal year, blamed on the covid19 pandemic and rival technologies like WhatsApp and Zoom – fallout set to persist into the future – plus the legacy costs of redundant technology.

TSTT CEO Lisa Agard said then, “Given our current challenges, TSTT considers that it must now urgently restructure to remain competitive.”

Elder had predicted, “Without saying that in so many words, it is clear they are going to further downsize and restructure and retrench employees at different levels of the company. We could very well see the decimation of the company as we know it, if we are not careful.”

In February the Prime Minister instructed Finance Minister Colm Imbert to accede to Elder’s request to meet to discuss a proposed audit of TSTT.

By March, Energy Minister Stuart Young announced a Cabinet subcommittee under then Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis to examine the state of TSTT. She asked TSTT to stay its hand while the subcommittee made its inquiries, but later said the subcommittee may merely request this of TSTT, but not order it, as it was not a state company and not directly controlled by the Government.

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