Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

Politics is involved in the demand by trade unions to secure a one-month salary payment in lieu of wage increases since 2011, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on Wednesday.

Speaking on his Unity Labour Party’s radio station, Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, said he is not saying that the public sector workers don’t need an enhancement of their salary and condition.

“They are doing important work so this is not a case where I am denouncing teachers and calling them greedy. I am not doing that. I am not doing that at all.”

Union leaders have demanded payment before general elections, expected before year-end, but have maintained that their demand is in no way connected to the polls, a position that they restated in a radio programme on Sunday.

Speaking on “Hitz Talk”, Elroy Boucher, president of the Public Service Union, noted that the negotiations began in December 2014.

“It is at this stage not because of the unions but because of the government. Because this payment could have been made since in January or February. So it is not something that was timed to coincide with elections,” Boucher said.

But Gonsalves, citing unnamed sources, said on Wednesday that he was reliably informed that some of the agitation is politically motivated.

“But I want to say this now: there are couple of persons who have made it plain and it has been reported to me reliably, one person said, for instance, that she is not interested in really any salary.

“What she interested in is a change of government; she wants to see the ULP change. She wants the NDP. And when people asked her, she said she is an NDP person and she expects in any case that I will be the chief education officer. So that’s what she’s fighting for,” Gonsalves said, but did not identify the person of whom he spoke.

“Then there is another gentleman who has a beef because he’s grousing — it has been brought to my attention — terribly at the workplace because a younger more qualified person than him is being earmarked by the ministry concerned, not my ministry, the relevant ministry, for advancement over him,” the Prime Minister further told listeners.

“Now, he may have a legitimate reason to grouse. I don’t know,” Gonsalves said, adding that the Public Service Commission will make a determination.

“But you have these kinds of things, some political, some personal, beyond the issue itself.”

Gonsalves, however, said he takes president of the Teachers’ Union, Oswald Robinson, “at his word that this is not, from his perspective, a political issue.

“And I have known him to be an honest person so I am not denouncing him,” Gonsalves said.

“But I am just saying and let the public know that persons who are agitating who have agendas not connected to anything other than their personal grievances, individual grievances, I am talking about and politics,” he said.

3 replies on “Union officials playing politics on salary issue — PM”

  1. Political nonsense and diversion of the real issue as usual Comrade. Got to give it you, you are good at that. But you can fool some of the people sometimes but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  2. Politics of diversion to put Vincentians against one another.You notice he always with these kind of stories just like when he claimed that there was a plot to kill him.He is claiming that the union officials playing politics but my question to this king liar is what kind of game were you playing in 2001 when you were hungry to get into power and you pushed the unions to block roads?

  3. I was asleep and I dreamed that a “Ralph Gonsalves” (not he Honorable Doctor) promised public servants that if they elected him he would give them a 30% increase in salaries. In my dream he had them parading through the streets of Kingstown, and they were all apparently convinced by him that it was one Arnhim Eustace who was playing politics when he said the the country could not afford that increase. Of course I had to have been dreaming, because the Ralph in that incarnation was clearly playing politics and our revered PM is, of course, a statesman who is above playing politics, who is honest as the day is long and who would never, never have manipulated those gullible public servants to serve his own political ends. Not so?

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