Categorized | Local, News

MUL in Crisis, Financial Controller vacates office to await action

Montserrat Utilities Limited (MUL) has been featured for some time especially in recent months on one front or the other, from power outages to staff and worker unrest; to hints and questions in Jus Wonderin and opinions relating to its operations.

Matters have come to a head when the news spread quickly that MUL’s Managing Director Peter White delivered a letter/note, demanding the company’s Financial Controller to vacate her office ‘with immediate effect ‘ on Monday, March 14, 2011.

The managing director has denied suggestion that he had fired the young woman who has been in the employ of MONLEC (Montserrat Electricity Services), which now forms as part of the merged company, MUL for over 22 years. The manager also told reporters that the issue relating to Miss Romily Murraine being asked to leave the premises until further notice was an “internal matter”.

On Tuesday, there was a power outage just after mid-day that lasted for approximately one hour and a half. Reporters suggested reliable information had said that this was the result of workers in the electrical division, who were upset over what they considered as the ‘dismissal’ of an employee. The Manager after denying that anyone ‘was fired’ said that the outage was due to an engine overheating.

Senior workers at the electricity plant confirmed officially that engine overheating, was the problem with the failure of a back-up engine starting up. According to the men, the incident “was just con-incidental.”

However, spokesmen for the Utility workers said that they had requested to meet urgently with the Manager on issues relating to staff and other matters, but had requested that the meeting be brought forward when they learnt of the Financial Controller matter. It was reported that the workers had called for an immediate reinstatement of Miss Murraine.  On Wednesday they reported that while they were aware of several issues in the Administration of MUL, they did meet with the manager but who confirmed he had not fired the employee, but that there was a meeting scheduled for Friday to deal with relating matters.

On Tuesday, the workers had sent out an urgent call to meet with the MUL’s board chairman, Philip Chambers who is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works which bears responsibility for the utility company. The workers said they are seeking clarity on staffing issues, clarity of pension matters with CLICO, holiday and sick leave issues as well as the financial status of the company.

According to the spokesmen, the chairman promised them he would look into the matters and promised to deal with them immediately. Meanwhile the chairman had reportedly also denied knowledge of any firing or industrial action against the company.

Last year on October 29, Hylroy Bramble and Fitzroy Martin led a walk-in protest against Managing Director Peter White eventually telling him, ‘if he were even to sit in the manager’s chair for20 more years, he would never be as good as former MONLEC manager Hilton Howson.’

MUL is a merged company of Montserrat Water Authority and Montserrat Electricity Services Ltd. since 2008. Our information is, with White as managing director, each of the entities has a manager, who along with the Financial Controller and the accountant, as well as the Human Resource manager, meet regularly, (weekly) as a management team.

Other official sources have also informed TMR that the Financial Controller no longer sits at board meetings as corporate secretary. She was replaced by the Human Resource Manager and an administrative assistant. Those sources also express that the manager’s most recent actions are resulting from issues developing since that, as well as issues regarding MUL’s financial position and operations, which have caused differences among top management.

MUL is without a substantive managing director for several months and two months ago recently advertised the vacancy for the position.

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Montserrat Utilities Limited (MUL) has been featured for some time especially in recent months on one front or the other, from power outages to staff and worker unrest; to hints and questions in Jus Wonderin and opinions relating to its operations.

Matters have come to a head when the news spread quickly that MUL’s Managing Director Peter White delivered a letter/note, demanding the company’s Financial Controller to vacate her office ‘with immediate effect ‘ on Monday, March 14, 2011.

The managing director has denied suggestion that he had fired the young woman who has been in the employ of MONLEC (Montserrat Electricity Services), which now forms as part of the merged company, MUL for over 22 years. The manager also told reporters that the issue relating to Miss Romily Murraine being asked to leave the premises until further notice was an “internal matter”.

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On Tuesday, there was a power outage just after mid-day that lasted for approximately one hour and a half. Reporters suggested reliable information had said that this was the result of workers in the electrical division, who were upset over what they considered as the ‘dismissal’ of an employee. The Manager after denying that anyone ‘was fired’ said that the outage was due to an engine overheating.

Senior workers at the electricity plant confirmed officially that engine overheating, was the problem with the failure of a back-up engine starting up. According to the men, the incident “was just con-incidental.”

However, spokesmen for the Utility workers said that they had requested to meet urgently with the Manager on issues relating to staff and other matters, but had requested that the meeting be brought forward when they learnt of the Financial Controller matter. It was reported that the workers had called for an immediate reinstatement of Miss Murraine.  On Wednesday they reported that while they were aware of several issues in the Administration of MUL, they did meet with the manager but who confirmed he had not fired the employee, but that there was a meeting scheduled for Friday to deal with relating matters.

On Tuesday, the workers had sent out an urgent call to meet with the MUL’s board chairman, Philip Chambers who is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works which bears responsibility for the utility company. The workers said they are seeking clarity on staffing issues, clarity of pension matters with CLICO, holiday and sick leave issues as well as the financial status of the company.

According to the spokesmen, the chairman promised them he would look into the matters and promised to deal with them immediately. Meanwhile the chairman had reportedly also denied knowledge of any firing or industrial action against the company.

Last year on October 29, Hylroy Bramble and Fitzroy Martin led a walk-in protest against Managing Director Peter White eventually telling him, ‘if he were even to sit in the manager’s chair for20 more years, he would never be as good as former MONLEC manager Hilton Howson.’

MUL is a merged company of Montserrat Water Authority and Montserrat Electricity Services Ltd. since 2008. Our information is, with White as managing director, each of the entities has a manager, who along with the Financial Controller and the accountant, as well as the Human Resource manager, meet regularly, (weekly) as a management team.

Other official sources have also informed TMR that the Financial Controller no longer sits at board meetings as corporate secretary. She was replaced by the Human Resource Manager and an administrative assistant. Those sources also express that the manager’s most recent actions are resulting from issues developing since that, as well as issues regarding MUL’s financial position and operations, which have caused differences among top management.

MUL is without a substantive managing director for several months and two months ago recently advertised the vacancy for the position.