The Government of Grenada and the Public Workers Union (PWU) are moving to enhance the working relationship between the two.
Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Public Administration, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, this week presided over a meeting that brought together representatives of the Department of Public Administration (DPA) and senior officials of the PWU.
The meeting stems from a commitment given by the Prime Minister during a recent meeting of social partners, in which the PWU President, Brian Grimes, raised concerns about contract workers and the regularisation of public officers.
At Tuesday’s meeting, there was mutual agreement on regular interface between the PWU and the DPA as part of efforts to thrash out issues of concern to public officers. One of the primary discussion points was that of contract work, with the union expressing a desire to regularise the employment status of all employees. However, the Government team explained that the public service comprises mixed modalities of employment, with contractual labour being one of such.
The Government has assured the union that it has started the very tedious process of normalising various matters pertaining to terms and conditions of work, including standardised contracts and job letters; salary adjustment upon contract renewal; the definitive appointment of persons holding acting and temporary appointments; identifying undocumented workers.
While the details of many of the issues must be worked out, there is a general commitment by both Government and the union to work together in the interest of workers and increase the productivity of the public service.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that parts of the system are broken, but he voiced a firm commitment to working together to fix it.
Dr Mitchell said, “I think union leaders, just like leaders in Government, have to ask themselves, what will be my legacy? In this case, recognising that the system is bad, we have to work together to fix it and to secure the future of our youth. I take this opportunity to call on the union to also help us with the issue of performance appraisal and getting managers, their members, to understand the importance of it as we try to build a better public service.”
The PWU President echoed the Prime Minister’s sentiments about working together saying, “We would like to see the Grenada Public Service as the number one in the Caribbean. Traditionally, trade unions don’t talk about productivity but we would like to see regular evaluation of our people so that the Grenada Public service will be the most outstanding in the region.”
Other attendees at Tuesday’s meeting were Permanent Secretary with responsibility for the Department of Public Administration Rhonda Jones and Alisha Durrant, Human Resource Management Officer. Representing the PWU were Public Relations Officer Daisy Hazzard and Susan Donald, Executive Assistant to the President.