Retail supermarket chain, PriceSmart has issued a statement saying it is open to a meeting with the Oilfield Workers Trade Union as soon as possible to discuss their concerns.
It follows a protest by the OWTU at PriceSmart's Movietowne, Port-of-Spain branch on Tuesday.
PriceSmart says it was never invited by the OWTU to sit down and discuss the issues.
The following is the statement from PriceSmart:
"PriceSmart would like to assure its members throughout Trinidad and Tobago that its four branches – Chaguanas, Port of Spain, Mausica and San Fernando - will be open for business as usual to provide the quality service and merchandise to which Members are accustomed. More importantly, notwithstanding recent false allegations to the contrary, PriceSmart affirms that it has never wavered from its longstanding corporate commitment to its employees.
Dhanraj Mahabir, Country Manager of PriceSmart stated that “PriceSmart is well aware that our company is dependent on the commitment and good service provided by valued employees in order to have satisfied Members. Our employees are the key to the success of our business. We are and always have been committed to keeping the best employees by paying the best wages, providing the best benefits and striving for the best employer/employee relations in the industry.”
Mahabir added “As such,we have always been open to sitting down with the OWTU to discuss any concerns they have. Most of the issues raised by Mr. Roget on Tuesday,surrounded by individuals who were not PriceSmart employees, we had never been invited to sit down to discuss. We will seek to do so as soon as possible. We will do this not only to address any issues the OWTU raised during their protest, but also to accelerate Collective Agreement negotiations for 2015-2018 so that all our employees can receive the annual raises we have been seeking to give them, just like all other PriceSmart employees receive globally, but which we are unable to give without the Union’s authorization.”
Since its inception in Trinidad in 2000, PriceSmart has always emphasized a commitment to providing high-quality job opportunities for the close to 900 individuals it currently employs. All of its senior management is local and promoted from within. Many of its managers started with the company at entry level jobs. The company has always offered starting salaries well above minimum wage, competitive medical plans, pensions, Christmas bonuses and gifts. All employees also benefit from many Departmental recognition programmers, social events such as our Award Dinner and Holiday Party, our Sports and Family Day event andEmployee Appreciation Day and Bar-B-Que.
These policies are the result of a decades long, extensively tested, philosophy developed by our founder and now mirrored by other retailers worldwide. PriceSmart’s philosophy of treating the employee right is chronicled in the biography Sol Price, Retail Revolutionary and Social Innovator, who was himself the son of labor organizers. He and his son, Robert Price, created the membership shopping warehouse club business model in the USA as “PriceClub” and later “Price-Costco,” predecessors to PriceSmarteach operating with the goal, and each successful in, attracting the best employees by treating them better than anyone else in the industry."