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CWU: Threat to elevators if workers strike

By Jensen LaVende jensen.lavende@trinidadexpress.com

MEMBERS of the Communication Workers Union warned yesterday that if negotiations were not continued with RBP Lifts Ltd, the company would cease maintenance work on elevators at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at Mt Hope and other State facilites.
The workers voiced their concerns during a lunchtime protest at Murray Street, Woodbrook outside RBP Lifts Ltd’s office.
RBP is a private company with contracts to supply and maintain elevators at the hospital, Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) hotel, Magdalena Grand resort in Tobago and One Woodbrook Place among other buildings.
Secretary general of the CWU John Julien said workers were negotiating for the period June 1, 2009 to May 31 this year.
Julien said at the last meeting two weeks ago, a representative of the company broke down the negotiations and stopped the meeting abruptly while they were dealing with salaries and cost items.
In response to the claim made by Julien, Lenin Aberdeen, human resource and industrial relations officer at the company, said the meeting was stopped after the other side became aggressive.
The company, Julien said, was offering a fixed Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) of $10 daily and three per cent on the salaries which is “absolutely ridiculous” as the company makes “tens of millions of dollars”. Julien said the union offered an increase of 15 per cent, which he said was negotiable.
Julien said if the workers did not get the increase they are asking for, a strike notice would be issued to the company.
He said if the workers went on strike, people would have to walk up 26 flights of stairs in some cases.
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