Anxious Windward Islands Packaging Company Ltd (WINERA) workers are concerned that the business could go down without a fight.
The WINERA workers downed tools Monday morning to show up outside a meeting room at the Coco Palm resort in the North of the Island where representatives of their union, the National Workers Union (NWU), were having discussions with company management about the future of the business entity.
Natalie Blanchard, who told St Lucia Times that she has been employed with WINERA since 2004, explained that lately the business has not been doing well.
Blanchard said that as a result, last week the company announced that some employees would have to be made redundant.
But she told St Lucia Times that the announcement was made with no indication of a strategic plan.
“Without diversifying, WINERA will be closed in another year or two,” Blanchard asserted.
“The way we look at it, if you have to do redundancies now it probably would help currently, but six months down the line without a plan what will be next?” She stated.
According to Blanchard, WINERA has been in existence for decades.
“We do not want to go down without a fight,” she explained.
Blanchard disclosed that workers have suggested initiatives to management, but the suggestions have met with negative reactions.
The WINERA employee said the suggestions included manufacturing paper plates in view of the ban that will be in place against styrofoam come next month.
“Our management team, it’s either they are tired or – something is wrong,” Blanchard declared.
She told St Lucia Times that the company, which has recently seen several resignations, is currently down to about 47 employees.
Blanchard revealed that the company’s main thrust currently is producing commercial boxes, an estimated 20 percent of which are for the banana industry.
But she explained that the banana industry is not doing as well as in the past and plastic crates are in vogue.
Blanchard said the company currently ships boxes to several countries and locally makes boxes for Domino pizza and other Saint Lucia-based companies.
“What I am saying is ‘Go and get the customers and we can do the job’.Diversify – get with the times,” the impassioned WINERA employee declared.