Members of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) and the Public Service Union (PSU) will picket the House of Assembly today, Jan. 29 and next Monday, Feb. 4 to coincide with the presentation and debate of the Estimates and Budget.
The unions said in a joint statement that the protests are to bring attention to a number of matters affecting public servants and teachers that have gone unresolved for quite some time.
“The unions’ efforts to meet with the relevant authorities to address these issues have been futile,” the unions said, adding that correspondence from the unions to the government in this regard have gone without acknowledgement.
“Since January of 2017 the unions have sought, through writing, to meet with the government to discuss issues concerning deplorable working conditions, appointments and promotions, pension reform, and salary increases,” the statement said.
“The unions, therefore, note that the recent behaviour of the authorities has been marked by:
• Blatant contempt and disregard by the government officials for the overtures made by the unions;
• Obvious violations of the Public Service Regulations pertaining to the promotion and appointment of public officers;
• Failure to effect maintenance of work sites, resulting in less than favourable and/or hazardous working conditions for occupants;
• Unreasonable declaration of a miniscule increase in salaries and wages considering the prevailing economic conditions and the concomitant demands on public sectors employees; and,
• Delay and seeming reluctance in addressing issues related to pension reform in consultation with the unions.
“The SVGTU and the PSU deem such actions as unacceptable, as they run counter to the principles of dialogue and collective bargaining in a context of justice, fairness and transparency.”
The unions further expressed “gratitude to all those persons and organisations who support the cause of the unions.
“We justly demand fair and reasonable treatment of workers and their representatives in a democratic society. You are invited to join us on the picket line, outside parliament building, from 3 p.m. on January 29th and February 4th,” the unions said.