by Donella Hosten
Public workers along with their trade unionists are once again in the spotlight as they came out in their numbers on Friday, 21 April 2017 to protest against Government’s Pension Disqualification Act which was established in April 1983.
According to sources, the enforcement of the Pension Disqualification Act results in Public Officers who entered the public service on or after 8 April 1983, not receiving pension benefits from the Government after their retirement.
President of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Rachel Roberts, who led the solidarity march from the PWU Building to the entrance of the Ministerial Complex, used the opportunity to hand deliver a letter to Hon Oliver Joseph Minister of Labour. She said, “We hope that the Minister would let us know and would call us to sit down with us and really amicably discuss the matter so that we can get a reasonable pension…a pension that is not less equal than what they should be getting.”
Workers clad in their Union tshirts chanted “We want we pension,” among other things. A number of them expressed themselves to the media, stating that it was unfair for them to have worked for such a long time with Government, only to go home with nothing but a mere ‘$300 from the NIS.’ One man said that he wants to see the pension plan re-established.
Also present at the march was Kenny James, President of the Trade Unions Council. He appeared very confident as he stated that “victory will come on pensions.” He went on to say that public officers of Grenada are the “new IMF” and “we will have a pension.” Additionally, James affirmed that “this is the appointed time, and we want it addressed now.”
The burning issue of the Pension Disqualification Act is on the forefront of all trade unionists and is being described by some as inhumane and unjust.
Government has promised to address the matter and make a public statement on 1 May 2017. However, workers say they hope this is not a political gimmick. The unions have indicated that they are prepared to act in full force to strike if they are not satisfied with Government’s response.