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Sunday, March 3, 2013


The picture is beginning to unfold and the facts to support it are emerging; they reveal that the spate of industrial relations problems currently plaguing the country is not the making of the TUF president. Left to him and other rational members of the TUF team, those problems would either have been "pre-empted" or solved before the set deadline of February 28.

Perusing an email exchange between Mother Mary and a CSA member (see Appendices 1 & 2 below) gave me a spanking insight into the mindset of the former – apparently, a “kankannèz” mindset blissfully disposed to drag the negotiations to the end of time. This is so contrary to the many good public servants who aim for excellence in efficiency and productivity. And indeed, I believe the vast majority of the 9000 public servants are in that category! In fact, the impact of the current spate of industrial action is expected make a bad situation worse. Some public servants may well believe that they have been robbed of their "16% entitlement" and may correspondingly decrease the productivity. Think of the implications for quality of service to all of us!

Inside sources indicate that the teachers are not happy with the state of negotiations and they are beginning to get impatient! Many may report to their classrooms on Monday and Tuesday instead participating in the sickout. Even the NWU who is supposedly an “arch-rival” is showing signs of disgust at the management of the negotiations process by the TUF.

When the NWU issued a press statement that negotiations were substantially complete - and in that context arbitration should never be an option - it was well aware of the impending consequences, including the jaws of defeat staring at the TUF. The PM perhaps more than anybody else is very much of that too. Even the “generous” offer of a 4% wage increase could be reversed and result in a wage freeze, which is where our economic compass is pointing.

Being the gentlemen that he is, I’m sure that Mr Monrose, as well as every sensible St. Lucia, fully understands that potential consequences very well! Except for his detractors, we all know him to be a rational human being – something he has proven over time; but this time around, he has found himself caught up in a quagmire of "indecision" primarily imposed by countervailing forces of irrationality. Indeed, an inside sources revealed that Mr Monrose has had to do considerable damage control from day one when Mother Mary thrust an impossible 16% pay hike down his already ‘hoarse’ throat.

Mr Monrose perhaps at this point may be wishing that he was negotiating exclusively for his teachers who are perhaps the most powerful, reasonable, proactive and hardest-working member group in the TUF. He would have a solid platform to get better results because he would have brought to the table a convincing “performance score card” and wouldn’t have gone overboard to the extent that he has - because his teachers have a record of measurable achievements which civil servants perhaps don’t have. He is perhaps at this point not just only disillusioned but equally constrained and undermined by the small seditious presence inside the CSA.

Hence, all those perennial and negative claims about productivity and efficiency would not have circumscribed the negotiating power of the teachers who work well beyond the call of duty to ensure the education and well-being of their students. Indeed, when it comes to efficiency and productivity, teachers win hands down. You visit any school in St. Lucia on any given school day and you will notice the alacrity, the sense of urgency that the teachers and principal attend to you. They put you first. Compare that with the public service: you go to almost any gov’t office from the Registry to Customs and contrast what you get; it’s a downright shame. Teachers give you the quality of service you get from the private sector but in the civil service, it's all a mess; they create all kinds of red tape to frustrate you. Perhaps, Mother Mary should put a clause in the collective agreement to address that!

Yet, teachers have no leave, no vacation, hardly any time off! They work just as hard during the closing of schools, planning and preparing for the term ahead.

Mr Monrose from the very beginning understood the negotiation math and stats; he understood that the 16% VAT did not translate into 16% increase in the cost of living indices. More importantly, he understood that the current wage increase sought is retroactive and predates the implementation of VAT (which is only 5 months old); hence, the VAT argument to justify a wage increase for the triennium March 2010 to 2013 is flawed. Moreover, the civil servants have not done a good job in supervising the implementation of VAT, resulting in many pricing anomalies which are killing consumers! The commercial sector has gotten away with "murder" and Price Control has either been clueless or not vigilant! Mother Mary as the "head" of the very civil servants who computed, implemented and supervise the VAT should encourage her workers to pay greater attention to those issues and ensure that the public is not unduly robbed. Indeed, the public service is to be blamed for most Gov't failures!

Mother has brought an apparently “kankannez” approach to the negotiations and that does not help the cause. Although the support for her faction is vociferous, it has become clear that the vast majority of the 9000 public servants do not support the action. In other words, it is the will of a vociferous minority imposed on the will of a silent majority.

I urge the vast majority of our public servants to be rational, especially in the context of the economic crisis we face. Let's not do anything to bring our country down in the way Jamaica and Guyana went down. Now is the time to put our shoulders to the wheel, to build our country and aim to make it the best! We have the greatness; all we need is a little more love, a little more patriotism. The current industrial relations and economic crises will be a litmus test for us in that regard. If St. Lucia floats, then all of us float; if it sinks, then all of sink, too!

Now is not the time to agitate for prohibitive wage increases; we, the taxpayers, simply can't afford it!

Sons and daughters of St. Lucia, Love the land that gave you birth!

APPENDIX 1: Email from Proud Lucian <>

Dear CSA President and Members

Wow! That’s all I can say right now. Wow! I’ve never been so ashamed to be a member of the CSA like I am today. Everywhere I pass people are looking at me as if I’m the worse person around. Now to make matters even worst I see this message from my President. Ashame.

I supported a salary increase in the beginning because I felt things were hard and we needed something more to ease the strain. But I cannot support our Union being greedy and asking for things that make us look bad. Why should I expect to get my tax refund before anybody else? That’s not right. Why should I get loans at lower interest rates in the bank than the single mothers who’re working in the hotels and at S&S? That’s not right. Why should I get cheaper land that the poor people who working for less than minimum wage as securities or vendors? That’s not right either. What I want is a reasonable increase that my country can afford to give me. I don’t want to send St Lucia to the IMF. I don’t want to make things harder for everybody else. I don’t want my children or their friends to say in 10 years’ time that St Lucia went thru hard times because there mother was greedy and cause St Lucia to go to the IMF.

So it’s bad when the Union goes and does these things behind my back and I don’t know anything about it. But it’s worse when I read a letter from our President saying things that are not true. I don’t support everything the PM says but I won’t be dishonest just to make him look bad. The PM never called public servants lazy. He never used that word. When he gave his first speech I heard him talk about productivity but he never called anybody lazy. Our President shouldn’t go around telling lies. That can put our Union in trouble. Suppose the PM decides to sue us for this. But you know what there are lazy workers in the service who’re giving hard-working people like me a bad name and that’s probably why we not getting the support from the public. There are public servants who come to work late every day and leave early, who lime in town or outside there office almost every day, some who always calling in sick, who spend endless time gossiping on the phones every day and who are rude to the public they serve and who abuse government vehicles and supplies. We have to call a spade a spade. If we want the public to take us seriously we have to show that we ourselves are serious and we’re ready to speak out against the bad eggs among us. It can’t just be about more money it has to be about us working together improving the service. That’s the only way the Chamber and the private sector and the public will respect us and support us.

I’ve lost all my confidence in my Union and its President and I’m now embarrassed to be a member of the CSA. We have to check our self before we wreck ourselves. I don’t really know how this thing is going to work out but don’t count on me for any sickout, demonstration or strike. I won’t allow the CSA, the TUF or any Union to embarrass me anymore. I wish I was a member of the NWU. At least they know how to do their work and they have the respect of the government and the private sector.

Ms. Isaac you not ready yet

APPENDIX 2: Reply from: Mary Isaac <>

Dear Cletus

I am so sorry you feel that way. However, let me share a little secret with you: It is your constitutional right to associate with any union you choose. I would never be a member of any organization that I am ashamed of. However, I hope you will be singing the same tune in about two years’ time. You will be surprised to see what will happen by the time the politicians are finished with the same country that you claim to care about so much, if people like trade union leaders do not ensure that they do the best they can to prevent unscrupulous politicians from destroying our country. I have not uttered an untrue word about anyone and I have witnesses. The Prime Minister has said over and over again, that public workers are not productive. He is not the only one. We have also heard it from another super Minister who did not even run an election.

When our Prime Minister takes off later this week to go to Canada, whose money you think is paying for his flight ticket, hotel room and that of all the people he is taking with him? You should ask him about a certain PS who is currently on leave from the IMF and is now working in St. Lucia while he is on leave and how much money he is making. Don't you think some unemployed person in St. Lucia could have been employed instead, or a promotion given to someone who is already in the service to create some upward mobility? Do you really endorse giving those high paying contracts to all those consultants? You agree we should spend so much on those foreign missions that cannot show anything for it? What is the story with the UN rights anyway, an SLP Embassador has been there for over a year and she is not aware of what membership is paid and what is not? Is that very productive?

Those public workers that you are chastising, I do not suppose you realize that if it is not for those same public workers, government policy will not be implemented? Who you think is doing the government's work? We even have to write the nice speeches you hear your same politicians reading from all kinds of platforms as though they wrote them. You should be ashamed of yourself complaining about people that you do not even know. The workers in that same Prime Minister’s office who are doing all that work to make sure he looks good, who do you think they are? We have about 9000 public workers, how many lazy ones that you know of?

Public workers have chores of their own to do during the day that cannot be done on weekends or after hours and that is one of the main reasons that people see them walking around. They have to pay bills, go to the doctor, purchase items from stores that are open at certain times of day, they have to renew their licenses, passports etc etc etc. They also have a lunch hour that some of them work right through. There are a few unprodutive people in all walks of life, be it in the organization or out. In the private sector and the public sector. So you ought to stop it with the Public workers Bashing.

Yes you ought to be ashamed, but it is shame for yourself. What is your claim to fame? Look in the mirror before you point your finger at public workers.

As for our prime Minister, he is biting the hand that feed him. He is fighting down the same public workers that put him where he is, but you will soon find out.

THe Labour Party Motto is: Freedom, Bread and Justice. Did you even know that? Well, I think that Labour Party died when the Last member who truly cared, George Odlum, left the fold.

Check yourself brother. I will inform accounts to expect you to come to withdraw and I look forward to see you leave CSA and join NWU. Actually, I can save you the trouble if you want to just send me an email requesting the cancellation of your membership.

Good Luck where ever you choose to get union representation
When we pray tomorrow morning, I will be thinking of you with the hope that GOD WILL ENLIGHTEN YOU.

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