Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell says he does not expect a further escalation of the recent industrial action called by the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) and the Public Workers Union (PWU).
Both the PWU and the TAWU instructed their members to remain at home on Monday, 16 and Tuesday 17, October in a move the Government Negotiating Team said is disappointing, because of the unions’ rejection of the Minister of Labour’s mediation efforts, regarding one-off payment to public service employees.
During the government’s weekly Post-Cabinet Briefing, Prime Minister Mitchell pointed out that in addition to honouring a commitment of the previous government and meeting salaries on time, his government has paid an additional $106 million to public service workers and there is another $4 million being committed.
However, with the public workers asking for an additional $9 million, the Prime Minister said they must be concerned about all workers, and not just one group.
“I do not see how the government can continue to meet the responsibility to one set of workers in the country, while others are not able to have anything. So, you mentioned the fact that the country is going to suffer. My own reading of things is that people are beginning to understand what is taking place. I was at the Ministry of Finance a while ago. Our revenue base is intact. People are working. The leadership is there doing their work. The few areas that had misunderstanding appear to be clarified, at this point in time, and I don’t see the impact that some people may have wanted to see for whatever reasons. I don’t see it occurring. So, I am very hopeful that common sense will prevail and that we will see an end to this impasse that appears to be occurring, at this particular time.”
Prime Minister Mitchell said his government cannot, in good conscience, ignore the needs of others in the country who also require assistance. “The government went way beyond its means. We have, my dear friend, we have the young people still out there without jobs. What do I do, forget them, as Prime Minister?” He asked. Continuing, the Prime Minister said, “A few weeks ago, Prime Minister Skerrit went to Barbuda and gave relief to Barbudans, water and everything. Today, he needs more than that in Dominica. There are people whose homes are still wetting when rains fall in this country. Should I forget them? Don’t give them anything; don’t give them a piece of board, but just give more and more and more? I can’t. I can’t. My conscience would not allow me to do it and I think anyone who has a conscience will not proceed to want that to happen.”