The Teachers’ Union and the Public Service Union (PSU) are continuing with their efforts to get the Ralph Gonsalves government to meet their demand for a one-month, tax-free salary payment in the absence of pay increases since 2011.
“The whole plan is to mobilise our members, bring them up to date on what is happening, use the media to inform the public because we need the public to understand the request and why it is needed,” President of the PSU, Elroy Boucher told I-Witness News
The unions are continuing in their efforts after being told earlier this month by Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, that his government is unlikely to be able to make the payment before year-end.
The executives of the unions held a joint meeting last week to discuss the way forward.
“The decision coming out of that meeting is for us to have a strategic approach to dealing with the issue,” Boucher told I-Witness News.
Each union will meet with its members next week.
“… the meeting should inform us on what decision or what form of action should be taken,” Boucher said.
As part of the media sensitisation campaign, Boucher appeared on the Teachers’ Union’s radio programme last week, he told I-Witness News.
He said the media appearances are intended to “inform the public about the details and the justification for the request”.
He said unions are pushing for the payment.
“… in fact one of the decision is unless the government has an offer on the table, there really is no need to go back to a meeting.
“We can’t go back to a meeting again to hear that you can’t do this and you can’t do this. We have gone to meetings so far with the same result. So, in light of that, any more dialogue would have to be with something substantial on the table,” Boucher said.
General elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are expected by year-end.
President of the Teachers’ Union, Oswald Robinson, has told I-Witness News that the efforts by the unions are unrelated to the upcoming vote, in which Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party will seek an unprecedented fourth consecutive term in office.