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Friday, April 5, 2013


CASTRIES, St Lucia, Thursday April 4, 2013 - A planned protest march by Civil Servants failed to materialise on Thursday, as organisers were not granted Police permission to take to the streets.

Acting Police Commissioner Errol Alexander said in planning their march the Civil Service Association did not conform with the Public Order Act, which requires that permission be sought three days ahead of a march.

He also said the organisers did not indicate in their letter the number of persons expected to participate in the march as required by the legislation.

"We wrote the CSA indicating what was required and we now await to hear from them," the Acting Commissioner said.

CSA President Mary Issac, said the members agreed to abide with the requirement off the law and will now seek permission to stage their march on Monday.

Earlier this week, public officers agreed to step up their protest in effort to force government into meeting their demands for a 9.5 per cent wage increase.

The workers are into week three of their strike and appear determined to obtain a better deal although the other five sister unions grouped under the Trade Union Federation (TUF) have accepted and signed up for the 4 per cent government offer.

Issac told CMC that while she was able to keep the workers indoors and away from the streets during the first two weeks of the dispute, the members all voted to step-up their protest to send a message of their determination to their employers.

"Now we believe it is time to let them have the march they have been asking for, as we have made no headway in persuading Government to offer the workers a better offer.

"We will also be demonstrating against the way the Government has handled the wage negotiations, with their divide and rule strategy: signing agreements with individual organisations when they are well aware they were negotiating with one umbrella body," Issac said.

The decision of the other members of the TUF to break ranks with the CSA and sign the wage agreement with government may have permanently fractured the Federation, with the CSA this week appointing their own mediators to break the impasse with government.

However the Government Negotiating team declined to hold any talks with the CSA team while the workers remained on strike.

The CSA President reiterated the fact that while the other five unions grouped under the Federation were able to negotiate allowances and other concessions in addition to the four per cent increase, the CSA did not have such access.

"The other members know what their situation is and they were able to accept the 4 per cent with their allowances, but for us we know that the 4 per cent is inadequate as for us allowances are not across the board, its only a salary increase that would redound to the benefit of all," she said. (CMC)


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