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Tuesday, March 12, 2013


The public (generally) and parents (in particular) are becoming increasingly impatient about the protraction of the wage talks between government and the TUF; indeed, any right thinking citizen would say it’s high time to bring closure to those talks and to restore the country to a state of equilibrium.

For the third consecutive week, the TUFF will call its members out to meetings which they claim the purpose thereof is to inform their members about the state of the negotiations. Invariably, their previous meetings have always been followed by the declaration of a “public service-specific” mystery illness designed to cripple the country.

It is noteworthy that all the meetings have been scheduled on normal working days, forcing the taxpayer to pay salaries to public servants even when they have not worked for it!

Since February 21, public servants have been absent for 7 out of 15 days! If the trend of the mystery illness continues today (Tuesday, March 12), then they wouldn’t return to work until the Ides of March, in which case, the total number of absent days will climb to 9 out of 19! And if the mystery illness continues to strike for the rest of March, then they will be out for an additional 7 days out of 14, resulting in a grand total of 16 out of 33.

Had the TUFF honestly declared a strike, then that would be fine with me. The game would be played by rules and we all would understand the implications. I might have even expressed my solidarity with them; but I can’t support that type of orchestrated and dishonest cat-and-mouse game in the name of a mystery illness. It’s cowardly and it’s not sending the right signals to our children. And in the days ahead, we can only expect more challenging psychosocial problems in the classroom and on the streets. Of course, don’t even mention the humungous social and economic cost implications for the country at a time we can ill-afford.

At the moment, the country is on the alert for three major epidemics: gastroenteritis, tuberculosis and the TUF mystery illness. The combined impact of those illnesses on productivity and education can be alarming and apparently, Mr Monrose has not demonstrated the sublime degree of patriotism and goodwill we expect of him in those circumstances. While the CSA president has receded to the background, he has unwisely continued to send mixed, irrational signals, grabbing at any straw that comes his way! He incessantly proclaims that he is eager to continue the negotiations but his follow-up actions and pronouncements spins in the other direction.

It is beginning to look like that the TUF has exhausted its negotiation capabilities and their options seem to be running out! It has become very reactionary rather than proactive, calling its members out at every turn. This obviously suggests an apparent lack of self-confidence to negotiate a closing deal that its members will approve.

It is on record that the TUF president has repeatedly claim that the PM is trying to derail the negotiation process by attempts to impose arbitration. He is equally guilty by trying to put the GNT under duress by resorting to destabilization of the country and economy. It’s refreshing to see that both Gov’t and the country have maintained their cool in the prevailing provoking circumstances, and have allowed the TUF all the latitude without raising a single finger – a plus for us and our tolerance as a nation.

Meanwhile, as the Ides of March approaches, the TUF like Caesar continues its stubborn journey while the poor kids continue to miss out substantially on their instructional time. The private sector and the public have been held hostage for an equal amount of time. The TUF has not paid any mind to Virginia Albert counsel either! As Caesar’s wife warned Caesar of his impending “assassination”, she has also warned the TUF of its folly. The police association has already struck the first blow; the press, private sector and the public have all struck blows; yet, the TUF still continue to stubbornly hold the gun to our heads.  

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