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Thursday, February 21, 2013


St. Lucia celebrates its 34 birthday under a "parallel set" of the cloudy conditions that greeted her when she was born as a nation on February 22, 1979.

Note, I said “parallel” and not “similar”. On February 22, 1979, the teachers and public servants were on a full strike; but today on the eve of the 34th anniversary, schools and public offices are likely to be shut down depending on the response to the call by the SLTU and the CSA to attend general meetings to “flesh out details of the current wage proposals”

The government negotiating team (GNT) and the Trade Union Federation met again on Monday and Tuesday this week to continue public sector salary negotiations; but apparently, there are still bumps in the way.

The President of the TUF, Julian Monrose says with the end of the 2010/2013 triennium in sight, it is an opportune time to go back to the general body for a full disclosure on the state of negotiations.

The TUF has moved from its initially ridiculous pursuit of 16.5% wage increase to a paltry to 6 % “with special conditions” but the government counter-proposal of 4 percent remains unchanged.

Mary Isaac (President of the Civil Service Association) told the press that the CSA is unhappy with the government’s response to the Union’s proposals. She went on to blame the apparent impasse on the intransigence of the GNT.

Currently both the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the negotiating team are out of state and the CSA president believes that this has compounded the outcome of the negotiations.

The Unions position claims that it has no authority to close schools; and hence, it cannot rule that there’s no school today. The decision therefore is with the Ministry of Education and/or the parents. The former can make an announcement or the latter can make a decision to keep the kids at home.

Let’s hope an injection of rationality will get into the heads of both parties and for the sake of country, this wage dispute will be imminently settled.

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