BIGWU threatens legal action against Tru Valu over Christmas working hours

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BIGWU threatens legal action against Tru Valu over Christmas working hours

The Bankers, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU), has threatened to take legal action against the Tru Valu Supermarket, over the Christmas working hours and allegedly preventing union meetings.

BIGWU, during a press conference on Friday, said Tru Valu is forcing workers to work extra hours for the Christmas season, a claim the supermarket’s CEO Sunil Maharaj has denied.

The supermarket chain’s Trincity and Diamond Vale branches will open for 24 hours on the December 22 and 23rd and BIGWU deputy president, Jason Brown, said Tru Valu was violating an agreement by not notifying the workers of the Christmas working hours three months in advance.

Brown said: “This union has no problem with any business trying to make money. However, when it is those means that are in contravention of the collective agreement and our good and proper industrial relations practice, the union has a very serious problem, and it is why we would take you to court. But the court is our last option, we only use the court when good faith bargaining fails.”

However, Maharaj said the 24-hour arrangement was implemented two years ago.

Regarding the union meetings, Maharaj said: “There’s a process by which these meetings can be held. A company is not going to deny a registered union from meeting with its members, but you cannot simply run up and start talking to people during working hours. That’s a recipe for anarchy. And that is what happened in the last instance. We simply cannot shut down a store, particularly at this time, to allow a union to come in and have a meeting.”

Maharaj added: “Everybody who is going to work would have volunteered to work. So, we are not going to demand anyone or say to any employee you have to show up. The employees have approached us and offered their services, and we see it as an opportunity of them to earn some extra money and we don’t feel we should be in the business of denying them that,” he said.

“This is the time where the company makes a few dollars, and the employees can make a few dollars, so that they too could enjoy some of the benefits of their hard labour.”

He said no employee will be working the full 24 hours.