Public Service Union  to elect new executive in November – Burgin
September 20, 2013

Public Service Union to elect new executive in November – Burgin

A new executive to head the Public Service Union (PSU) will be elected on November 5. This, after the former executive, headed by Cools Vanloo, was booted out of office by the PSU’s general membership in a meeting held on September 10.{{more}}

According to Aubrey Burgin, a member of an interim committee which had been put in place following the removal of the executive, a meeting was held on September 14, and a plan of action put in place.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday evening, Burgin said that the interim committee met with the administrative council of the union, and a decision was made to hold a general meeting to elect the new executive.

A nominations committee has already been set up, Burgin said.

According to a press release issued by the PSU on September 11, the trade union’s membership met at the Peace Memorial Hall on Tuesday, September 10, in a special meeting, to discuss matters relating to the functioning of the seven-person executive committee and to chart a way forward for the union.

The meeting, chaired initially by Vanloo, had some very “heated debates,” with some accusations being levelled against the president and other executive members, the release stated.

According to the release, two motions were put before the floor: one for the removal of the entire executive and a counter motion for the removal of general secretary Simeon Bacchus and treasurer Jillian Primus.

A vote was held for the counter motion, which was defeated and, according to the press release, the president then declared the meeting adjourned. The motion for the adjournment of the meeting was, however, not seconded, and Vanloo and some other members of the union walked out of the meeting, the release said.

After Vanloo walked out, the motion for the removal of the entire executive was put to the vote and succeeded, with 32 of the 35 members present voting in favour of it. The other three members abstained.

An interim committee was elected and given the mandate to run the affairs of the union, and to hold a general meeting within one month to elect a new executive, whose term of office will include the period up to March 2014 and the two-year term 2014 to 2016.

But when SEARCHLIGHT spoke last week to former president Vanloo, he maintained the view that the action taken was unconstitutional. He said that the union’s constitution does not make provision for an interim committee or for the removal of the executive by any motion. Vanloo said that the membership had altered the constitution, adding that there was a procedure set out in the constitution, with respect to alteration.

He added that the matter may have to be settled in court.

Burgin, however, on Wednesday, told SEARCHLIGHT that since the removal of the executive, the interim committee has not received any communication from Vanloo.

“We have had no official communication from him,” Burgin said.

The interim committee member explained that the committee met with their lawyer, who indicated that the action taken had in no way breached the PSU’s constitution. (DD)