by Donella Hosten
During the 2017 Budget presentation, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell made mention of an agreement to be made with the Unions regarding wage negotiations for 2013 to 2016. However, upon meeting with the heads of the Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU) a few days after the announcement, Government decided to offer them a one-off payment.
According to GTAWU President General, Andre Lewis, some time ago, Government proposed an offer to the Unions, suggesting a 1% increase for 2013. However, now they have been “unilaterally informing persons that there has been a wage freeze.” This, he noted is far from the truth. “Government’s offer when we met on 14 December was no increase for 2013 to 2016, but a one-off lump sum of $1,000.”
Lewis reiterated that workers have been making, and are continuing to make sacrifices, and “we were very clear when we told the Government negotiating team that we will not accept the one-off offer of $1,000.” Lewis referred to this meeting as being disrespectful and extremely offensive to workers.
A disappointed First Vice President of the PWU, Rachel Roberts, expressed her thoughts during the media conference last Friday at the PWU building, saying “If we are going to make sacrifices, give workers some reward for the sacrifices they are making.”
“If we listened to the Budget presentation we would recognise the tremendous amount of expenditure that Government is putting out for no reward, for no productivity” said Roberts.
PWUs Public Relations Officer, Brian Grimes, also stood in disagreement with the Government’s decision. “The offer made by the Government’s team to public officers is not commensurate with the huge sacrifice that public officers would have made over the past few years.”
The Unions have been in negotiations with Government for almost 2 years and they have assured their members that they will continue to fight in order to ensure they receive what is due to them.