The bargaining agent for staff at Radio Saint Lucia (RSL) the Civil Service Association (CSA) said it has yet to hear from government regarding the fate of employees ahead of the station’s month-end closure.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet had said during a budget presentation in May that the shutdown was imminent and is part of government’s move to reduce debt. RSL, according to him, has over $3 million in losses and hundreds of thousands in unpaid taxes.
At a pre-cabinet press briefing on July 10, Broadcast Minister Dominic Fedee said the entire situation is expected to be finalised by July 31 and the station will be placed into liquidation.
However, President of CSA Yvonne Edwin has said that the union has unsuccessfully pursued an audience with the minister on the matter.
“To state for the record, we have not met with the minister or with the board….We have met with the staff on several occasions. We’ve sent correspondence and they reflect dates such as January 23rd, a May 10th. and a May 17th correspondence that were addressed to the minister. The first two correspondents were sent to the general manager and they were also copied to the minister. The May 17th correspondence was addressed to the minister seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the ongoing RSL issue,” Edwin said speaking to HTS News4orce.
“Like I said, the media releases are where we have been getting information and updates regarding RSL. The budget pronouncement further indicated that the radio station would have closed … the bargaining unit CSA, has made all attempts to seek some forum where we could discuss and understand what would happen with the employees at RSL. To date, this has not happened and we’re hoping that in the coming days, ahead of July 31st, some meeting or forum can allow for us to understand what will happen with the employees there,” she said.
In his July 10 comments to the media Fedee had said: “We have to ensure that we do well by the employees as it pertains to their severance. I have had a meeting with them and we’ve had very frank cordial discussions as it pertains to the range of issues but you know, I’ve never believed that when you are dealing with contentious issues like industrial relations that you can get anything solved in the media. I think what it does is it creates that type of opportunity for there to be a misunderstanding between the two sides.”