January 22, 2010
Unions reject government’s offer

Two Trade Unions here have declined to accept the Government’s three per cent increase in salaries.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, delivering the Estimates for 2010, announced that the Public Service Union (PSU) and the Police Welfare Association (PWA) had rejected his administration’s offer.

He noted that the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU), another large trade union, on the other hand, had accepted the offer.

Gonsalves said the Government met with the Trade Unions and requested their cooperation regarding accepting, in the interim, a 3 per cent increase for 2010, with a possibility of the remaining 2 per cent to be granted retroactively to January, once the public finances can accommodate it.

This meeting took place on Friday, January 8, 2010.

Last week, the PSU’s General Secretary Elroy Boucher wrote the prime minister and informed him of his union’s position.

The PSU claims that salaries were legislated in Parliament and they expected the Prime Minister to keep his word of giving them a 12 per cent increase over three years, consisting of three per cent in 2009, five per cent in 2010, and four per cent in 2011. The union also cited an increase in the rate of inflation for 2009, and increases in fuel prices, among reasons for their decision.

Gonsalves responded to the letter by thanking Boucher for informing him of the PSU’s decision.

He used the opportunity to outline several initiatives that were implemented by his administration that significantly benefitted the members of the PSU.

The prime minister was, however, critical of the PSU for failing to recognize these programmes.

Prime Minister Gonsalves ended his response by wishing the PSU and its members well and promised to have the few outstanding reclassification issues rectified.(HN)