by Linda Straker
- Government is committed to achieving a pension plan
- Government and trade unions presently at standstill over negotiations
Despite the ongoing industrial impasse, Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade said government is committed to achieving a pension plan that will not have negative effects on future generations.
Government and trade unions are presently at a standstill over negotiations to enforce a pension plan for all public servants who joined the public service after February 1985 – the date when the Pension Disqualification Act came into effect.
Describing pension as a not just a social imperative but a moral duty, Dame Cecile said, ‘Indeed ensuring our retirees are provided with a decent pension so that they can have a comfortable standard of living in their twilight years is not just a social imperative, but a moral duty which my government takes seriously,” she said.
“To meet this commitment my government has established a pension secretariat and has secured the services of a company to conduct an actuarial study to assist in designing an appropriate package base on Grenada’s financial situation,” she said.
Members the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) during the first week of November stayed off the job for 2 days as part of an industrial protest aimed at telling government they would not accept the 2% gratuity proposed to retirees. The unions are asking for 25%.
Government then announced that salary would be deducted from workers who withheld their services from government departments by staying at home at the instructions of the union.
By the second week of November members of the Public Workers Union (PWU) joined the GUT for 3 days of industrial protest where they remained at home. During the second week, government announced further deductions and a memorandum was submitted to all head of departments instructing them about the cabinet decision.
In this the third week, the unions ordered workers to remain off the job on Monday, and they are expected to hold a march and rally for workers as they continue to make demands for the 25%.
Labour Minister Peter David on Sunday submitted a letter to the unions inviting them to a meeting on Monday at 2 pm to review the matter.
On Sunday, an urgent injunction was scheduled to be heard in the court to stop health workers categorised as essential services, from participating in the industrial protest. The meeting has been postponed to Wednesday.