Before making his final departure from the Castries Constituency Council (CCC), Peterson Francis, the Mayor of Castries, presided over the issuance of redundancy letters to several monthly paid workers at the C.C.C. dated Monday, 30th August 2021, which became effective the following day Tuesday, 31st August 2021. This has prompted some employees to call in the Civil Service Association, the bargaining agent for monthly paid staff at the Council.
Sources close to St Lucia News Online suggest an impending labour dispute between the C.C.C and the Union because of the lack of consultation between the employer and the employees’ representative.
While the redundancy letter to the employees was copied to the St Lucia Civil Service Association, explaining the reasons for the redundancy, CCC operational losses, inability to pay salaries and other liabilities, there were no discussions with the employees’ representative, a requirement under the Collective Agreement.
Francis has become known for his heavy-handed style of management during his tenure as Mayor of Castries. On the eve of the last general elections, he was mired in controversy following the removal of a vendor from the premises of the C.C.C, because he, the vendor, was not supportive of the then governing party. As if to remind the public of his understanding of Lordship, the title reserved for Mayors, he responded to reporters questioning the unfairness of his decision to terminate the vendor’s lease saying, “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh.” Perhaps in the hope of appeasing his new boss following a change in government on 26th July, he made an about turn and restored the lease of the vendor in quick time.
It remains a mystery why the Mayor Peterson Francis would be taking such a controversial decision, however necessary it may be, at a time when he is on his way out. From this latest decision, it appears that the mayor will be leaving the C.C.C together with some unwilling monthly paid employees.
On the face of the correspondence from the C.C.C there appears to be an administrative cock-up in the way the redundancies have been handled: little notice to employees and no consultation.