Saturday, 29 April 2017 09:13:56 (AST)

National·News

Unions to sue gov’t over promotions within public service

President of the Public Service Union, Elroy Boucher, and head of the Teachers' Union, Oswald Robinson, speak during an interview in October 2015. (iWN photo)

The Unity Labour Party administration may be in for a rough ride this year as far as labour relations are concerned.

iWitness News understands that at least two of the trade unions representing public sector workers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will file legal challenges to the manner in which the government has been making appointments and giving promotions among public sector workers.

Information reaching us is that the Public Service Union is taking the Public Service Commission (PSC) to court, seeking judicial review as it relates to how the commission promotes workers.

The union is convinced that the PSC violates the relevant regulations, which detail how promotions should be done, a source told iWitness News.

The union will challenge the violation of the regulations, in principle, but will cite five cases in support of its challenge.

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The source, who was not authorized to speak on the matter, said that the cases are very good examples, but did not detail them, telling iWitness News that the union might make a public statement soon.

iWitness News further understands that the union will also challenge a series of promotions that have taken place at the Ministry of Agriculture.

iWitness News was reliably informed that the Teachers Union will bring a similar challenge and that there are discussions within the Police Welfare Association about a similar challenge, although that trade union might not be allowed to advocate in the same manner.

Sources with information about the inner workings of the public sector unions told iWitness News that some members of the trade union community are advocating a push for a wage increase this year, but others are not convinced that the government is in a position to grant one, in light of the country’s fiscal situation.

In October 2015, the Teachers’ Union and the Public Service Union called a one-day strike as part of efforts to force the government to pay before general elections — held in December 2015 — one month’s salary tax-free in lieu of salary increases since 2011.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Ralph Gonsalves, however, announced during his independence address on Oct. 27 that year a 2.5 per cent salary increase for 2015, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015, which was paid on Dec. 18, 2015, nine days after general elections.

IWN Conversations

5 thoughts on “Unions to sue gov’t over promotions within public service

  1. Lostpet says:

    Anyone who lives in Saint Vincent knows how promotions are determined by the government. The article says nothing about it but when the truth comes out we will all see that promotions are primarily based on what political party the individual supports and not on potential, as promotions are supposed to be determined. We have all seen Government employees that don’t have a clue about the job they are doing, they are there based on politics and little else. That is one reason why the country is in the state it is in.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    These union heads are toothless tigers who could never get their members to strike regardless of the issue.

  3. Vinci says:

    So what else is new? This is, has been and will be the state of things in SVG. Doesn’t matter which party is in power.

  4. skeckpalmer says:

    David, I agree with you on that one. Many teachers are lemmings of the ULP and will not stand up to demand justice, even when they are being affected. The excuse that the government is not in a position to give an increase is a cop-out. These are the same people who accuse others of not liking Ralph when they ask question about the cost of AIA to the people of SVG. They never questioned where the funds were coming from to buy galvanize, lumber and cement before the last election.
    Promotion in SVG encourages the BOWLING syndrome for both men and women. There were rumours many years ago the system started on a sofa. Now it looks like all Vincentians are getting involved because they have been exposed to it for so long. Marshie was right, “St. Vincentians has lots of bowlers”.

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iWitness News is the leading source of daily and breaking news and current affairs information from and about St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We were founded in February 2009 by Kenton X. Chance, a career journalist and adhere to the highest standards of journalism.