On behalf of the Executive and members of the National Democratic Congress and, on my own behalf, I wish to make it abundantly clear that the Congress stands unwaveringly, in solidarity with the workers of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique as they battle with the NNP led Government for their negotiated, justifiable 4% increase in salaries.
Brothers and sisters, the Grenada Union of Teachers, the Grenada Public Workers’ Union and the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers’ Union must be commended for the role they continue to play in the development of our nation. The workers and pensioners in this country have always demonstrated a sense of understanding and tolerance; patience and fortitude – the nurses, doctors, teachers, policemen and other frontline workers have illustrated how dedicated and committed they are during this Covid-19 pandemic.
They deserve to be treated with utmost respect and dignity. Suggestions taken or made in cabinet are not to be forced down the throats of our fellow citizens in the labour fraternity. Meaningful dialogue has always been and will always be the best option for resolving and settling labour disputes. The International Labour Organisation has been leading the charge on this principle.
For too long this administration has dragged our devoted workers into unnecessary conflicts that disrupt the smooth operation of the Public Service. Over the years they have failed to permit the tripartite principle to function in a way that will bring about mutual benefits to workers and employers. This NNP administration has not been a good mediator. Political interference has always taken precedence over honesty and truthfulness.
The Government can find the money if it really wants to pay the 4% salary increases that have been negotiated and signed by both Government and unions. This amounts to less than $50 per month or one dollar and cents per day for some workers. US$63 million for the purchase of Grenlec shares was not difficult to find and according to the Minister of Finance in 2021 we can expect to enjoy a 6% growth in the economy.
We call on the Government of Grenada to immediately resolve this labour dispute. The industrial climate does not need any form of instability. The Government must do everything within its power to mitigate the chances of possible industrial actions. The risk to education, health and other essential services is too great.
Once again, we call on Dr Mitchell and his team to adopt the policy of PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST.