Siparia Corp ‘saves’ jobs of 120 workers

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 06:00

The jobs of 120 ca­su­al and tem­po­rary work­ers at the Siparia Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion jobs were saved on Mon­day af­ter mon­ey was sourced from an­oth­er ac­count to pay them in a last-ditch ef­fort.

But PNM coun­cil­lors claimed it was a ploy by the UNC to milk po­lit­i­cal mileage from a sit­u­a­tion which could have been avoid­ed.


As wor­ried work­ers gath­ered at the cor­po­ra­tion ex­pect­ing to re­ceive their let­ters of ter­mi­na­tion, the cor­po­ra­tion’s chair­man, Glenn Ra­mad­hars­ingh, was in an emer­gency meet­ing with the ad­min­is­tra­tive staff.

“Be­fore that meet­ing, I met with the CEO and a few col­leagues and in­struct­ed him that the coun­cil’s view is not send­ing home any­one to their homes with­out bread on their ta­ble,” Ra­mad­hars­ingh said.

In­stead, they de­cid­ed to use all the mon­ey from the ma­te­r­i­al and sup­plies and mi­nor equip­ment to pay the work­ers salaries un­til the end of the fis­cal year.

Ra­mad­hars­ingh, how­ev­er, came un­der fire by the Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment (PNM) coun­cil­lors who ac­cused him of play­ing pol­i­tics with the work­ers’ lives.

The coun­cil­lors said Ra­mad­hars­ingh at the coun­cil meet­ing last Thurs­day said there was a pos­si­bil­i­ty of work­ers be­ing sent home due to fi­nan­cial con­cerns.

How­ev­er, they said the mat­ter was brushed aside then by Ra­mad­hars­ingh.

Al­der­man Al­ston Cadore said the funds from the ma­te­r­i­al and sup­plies and mi­nor equip­ment was an op­tion open to the chair­man, but in­stead of dis­cussing it with the coun­cil he reck­less­ly and pre­ma­ture­ly sent out a state­ment on Fri­day that work­ers had to be ter­mi­nat­ed. 

His ac­tions, Al­der­man Christo­pher Eu­ci­nas said, “served on­ly to gain po­lit­i­cal points with no con­cern with the emo­tion­al trau­ma such a re­lease would have on its work­force.”

He called on the chair­man to apol­o­gise to the work­ers for the trau­ma they had ex­pe­ri­enced. How­ev­er, Ra­mad­hars­ingh said he on­ly act­ed af­ter he was in­formed by the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer that 99 work­ers were to be sent home for 16 days.

Re­it­er­at­ing that the cor­po­ra­tion was starved for funds and grind­ing to a halt, the chair­man called on the gov­ern­ment to re­lease the cor­po­ra­tion funds.

“In ma­te­r­i­al and sup­plies out of a $1 mil­lion we have a $100,000 re­lease to spread in the nine elec­toral dis­tricts. Can you imag­ine that each coun­cil­lor gets $10,000 to buy ce­ment and grav­el and oil sand in his area when he is en­ti­tled to $100,000.”

He ques­tioned whether there was some form of dis­crim­i­na­tion against op­po­si­tion-con­trolled cor­po­ra­tions as oth­er chair­men from Pe­nal/Debe, Princes Town and Ma­yaro Cor­po­ra­tions, as well as Ch­agua­nas may­or, have been com­plain­ing about a lack of fund­ing.

Com­ment­ing on the sit­u­a­tion yes­ter­day was sec­ond deputy pres­i­dent-gen­er­al of the Na­tion­al Union of Gov­ern­ment and Fed­er­at­ed Work­ers’ Clifton Simp­son said he met with the cor­po­ra­tion’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ra­jin­dranath Gan­goo, who de­nied that a de­ci­sion was tak­en to send home work­ers.

Not­ing that no coun­cil­lor can hire or fire a work­er, Simp­son said the union ought to be con­sult­ed be­fore any de­ci­sion is tak­en to fire a work­er.

Gan­goo de­clined to com­ment when Guardian Me­dia con­tact­ed him.

Reporter: Sascha Wilson