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Newsday Editor-in-Chief Judy Raymond

Daily News Limited (Newsday) is set to take industrial action against the Bankers, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) after the company sent home 40 of its employees for a three-month period.

In a press release yesterday, Newsday said the trade union representing its employees never requested a meeting to discuss the retrenchment and said that they were being forced to respond publicly to what should have been a private issue.

“But that is one of the many challenges of dealing with a union that is more interested in confrontation and table-thumping rather than dialogue and working in the best interests of all stakeholders. The lies, misinformation and distortions simply can no longer go unanswered,” the company said.

The company wrote to BIGWU on May 29, providing them with a listing of 40 workers from different departments who were to be laid off for three months from June 1, 2020.

In a press release on May 31, BIGWU said accused Newsday of being a ‘mercenary employer’ and said the company was sent repeated requests from the union for financial particulars and details associated with the selection of workers to be sent home.

The union said those requests were deflected or ignored and the union is taking legal action to challenge the company’s actions under the Industrial Relations Act.

BIGWU said Newsday was on a path of “deliberate union-busting tactics” and were using the COVID-19 pandemic to pursue its objectives.

In their response yesterday, Newsday said they provided some information on their financial decline.

“The information was provided that had not already been provided months before. In terms of the request of a privately held company for detailed financial information, the company simply provided the alarming percentage decline in revenue,” the company said.

Newsday said the company was reluctant to share detailed financial information as previous correspondence was ‘plastered all over the media.’

“The company did share its financial information with the union at its request to give perspective to on-going negotiations. It was dismissed by the union as fabricated and rubbish as it did not seem to fit its narrative. The company’s accounts are audited by a highly reputable international company yet the union accused the company of maintaining double books,” Newsday said.

The media house said the company tried to engage the union more than two years ago to discuss the introduction of a pension plan but the union refused to negotiate in good faith, which the company described as unreasonable and not in the interest of employees.

Newsday said it rejects the accusations of the union that they are taking advantage of the pandemic to fulfil an agenda.

“The company continues to work in the best interests of all stakeholders and to take sometimes hard decisions to ensure job security for ALL of its employees in the long term. Newsday is a small independent company that does not have the capacity to absorb huge losses over an extended period as can the larger media houses. The union has never requested a meeting and to date still has not done so. As such the company has exercised its right under the law and filed an industrial relations offence against the union,” Newsday said.