The increased industrial activity by public officers and teachers warrants an immediate response by the Ministry of Labour to seek a resolution with the negotiations on Pension and Gratuity between the Government Negotiating Team and the unions named in the memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed on the eve of the last general election in Grenada.
In accordance with section (45) Part VIII (8) “Disputes Procedures” of the Labour Relations Act, the Minister for Labour can be brought into a trade dispute as a mediator promoting a settlement, if the negotiations of the said dispute have failed to reach an agreement. The act outlines the steps to be taken in section (45) subsection (2) if intervention by the Minister is deemed necessary. Concerning the current industrial situation involving public workers, we believe that it has become necessary for such action to be taken and we call on the Minister for Labour to intervene and initiate a mediation meeting involving all parties of this serious dispute. Should this situation escalate into a full-blown strike, it will no doubt have implications for the government, private sector and the said public officers who, based on their current situation, are already described as officers retiring into poverty.
While we agree that the economic situation of the country must be taken into account when negotiating wages and benefits for public officers, we do not share the view that the Fiscal Responsibility Act should be used as the basis to begin these negotiations. We also call for the repeal and replacement of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, comprehensive labour reforms, including improvements to the current attrition policy among other measures, that may be counterproductive to good relations between the Government of Grenada and all its public officers. We hope, that a solution will be found as soon as possible.
Senator Ron Redhead
Opposition Senator representing the National Democratic Congress