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ECGC supervisors form new union

The Daily Herald, 8 August 2000

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent - Supervisors and middle management staff at the St Vincent-based East Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC), have formed a trade union to represent their interests at the company.

Registered on July 17, the ECGC Workers Union would bargain with their employers on behalf of some 56 supervisors and administrative staff who do not fall within the bargaining unit of the National Workers Movement, the union which won the right to represent mainly daily paid staff at the company.

An employee, who did not want to be named, said the union?s formation was as a result of long-standing problems they encountered with management.

Among them, the worker cited an emerging practise of hiring non-Vincentian workers to top positions which trained, local employees are capable of filling and doing a competent job.

The employee said since May 31 they had requested a meeting with General Manager, Julian Ferdinand but had been informed their request was passed onto someone else whose responsibility does not include human resources.

And a letter seeking recognition for the 88 per cent of supervisors and administrative claimed by the leadership of the union, was similarly not dealt with.

The company, established in 1997, won the top prize for manufacturing, assembly and agro-processing at the inaugural awards ceremony for Entrepreneur of the Year for Barbados and the OECS in 1996 when their then Chief Executive Officer Ken Boyea won the award of entrepreneur of the year.

Its business base includes the manufacturing of flour, feeds; rice, poultry and egg operations in several countries including Guyana, Antigua/Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Officials of the Labour Department, who have been informed of the formation of the new union said the process of gaining recognition could involve asking that they conduct a poll to determine support among employees if management fails to recognise the union.