Unsustainable employment costs forced need to reduce staff at GWI – Croal
The country’s water utility company was strapped with high employment costs after it hired more than 700 additional workers from 2015-2020, Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, said Thursday as he sought to explain why GWI was forced to cut back on staff.
He said the decision to remove more than 100 workers was fully discussed with the union. It was not a “fly by night” decision, Croal told reporters at the sidelines of an event in Sophia, Georgetown.
Reiterating the reasoning of GWI’s current Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shaik Baksh, he explained that the company’s employment figure had increased from just about 600 in 2015 to more than 1,300 by August 2020; this led to government prompting the much-needed rationalisation of employees, which started eight months ago.
The GWI CEO had also revealed that the company’s employment cost had also moved from $96 million in 2015 to $240 million by 2020 – representing a staggering 140 per cent increase.
“So we are talking about a 700-plus increase of staff, you’re talking about 125% increase of staff over five years.
“So obviously there is an overstaff complement,” Minister Croal relayed.
Further, the Housing Minister denounced reports that the firings were “racially motivated”.
“It is not that one particular race is being targeted…this was discussed at the [GWI] extensively and this has been discussed with the union.”
In a statement on Wednesday, the company said that a total of 157 staffers are listed to be sent off as part of “restructuring plans and rationalization of the staffing establishment.”
Of that number, 76 employees were already issued termination letters since May 31; the rest will be terminated within a three-month period.
It said that this is to ensure the efficient and productive management of the company’s daily operations.