President of the Grenada Union of Teachers Lydon Lewis says that his membership has response positively to the first protest action of wearing red arm bands and Union T-shirt to their jobs, as they call on Government to fulfil its obligation to make the final retroactive pay which was due at the end of February 2014.
“Today, we have seen good response to the call and we expect better tomorrow,” said Lewis who explained that teachers were continuously contacting the Union’s office requesting new T-shirts.
On 24 February Government informed the Teachers Union and all other trade unions which represents public officers that it was not able to meet the proposed end of February deadline for the “backpay” and has promised to get back to the workers by 17 March.
However, the Union in a news release said that the Government’s approach compromised its membership and is demanding that the payment be made by 12 March, and commenced its first protest action on Wednesday morning by having its membership wear red arm bands and Union T-shirts to their workplace.
“If it’s not done by that time we will definitely heighten our process,” said Lewis who claims that Government has not met with his Union executive or membership to explain the issue of the non-payment and when it will be resolved.
In the meantime, the Government said that it will fulfil it commitment to public workers with regard to the increases that were negotiated during the previous negotiating cycle.
A statement from the Government Information Service said that since coming into office a year ago, under extremely difficult fiscal constraints and amidst a gloomy economic climate, the administration of Dr Keith Mitchell has made two sizeable payments to public officers; honoured the 6% increase that was due to them; and still managed to pay salaries on time each month.
“In light of this, and with the understanding that the first quarter of every year is marked by its own fiscal limitations, the Government has had to request the indulgence of the public workers in accepting a revised schedule for the third payment instalment,” said the statement issued on Wednesday morning.
Apologising for the delay the statement said some members of the Trade Union movement have expressed disappointment that they were not informed earlier. “Government understands and accepts that reaction. It was remiss of us, and for that we apologise,” said the statement which said the Public workers will not lose any money and that Government is seeking to make the third payment at the earliest possible time.