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Poor Union Leadership

Poor Union Leadership


EDITOR: I was flabbergasted by news of the behaviour of the leaders of two Unions (the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union and the Public Service Union) and the Police Welfare Association when they were asked to leave their cell phones at the security check-point before entering the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Union representatives had gone to that office for a meeting to discuss possible salary increases for their membership and matters related to the Budget. They were simply being asked to comply with standard procedure in place for obvious reasons. The issue is even more alive, given the fact that in the recent past a violation of this requirement took place whereby someone was able to sneak a phone into Cabinet Room and smuggle to the outside world a recording from a private meeting. The restriction on phones was not established by the Prime Minister himself. It is a part of the long established protocols of the office. A student can’t take a cell phone into an examination room. You can’t carry phones into the US Embassy in Barbados, and you just can’t take electronic communication devices into the PM’s office!

We are not running a Mauby Shop. There are security and sensitivity considerations. If I wanted to see Donald Trump, I might even have to leave myself outside.

I can’t imagine why a group of people would want to be remembered for holding on to their phones at the expense of the fundamental interests of their membership. They sacrificed an opportunity to address weighty matters at the highest levels on the altar of vanity and an overdrawn sense of personal importance. The militant founding fathers and mothers of Unionism in this country must be quite dismayed. What we have today is a bunch of jokers which will go down in infamy.

We know from the build up to the proposed meeting that these particular Unions were spoiling for a fight. Interestingly, their disruptive cause or purposes would have been better served if they had actually entered the talks and then abandoned them mid-course claiming a breakdown over a substantive matter – that would have been more palatable to the public than recourse to juvenile antics. We are left to believe that they were afraid to face the music. It wasn’t even a case of grandstanding. It was just pettiness in the extreme.

Instead of doing serious

work geared at securing favourable outcomes, the poor excuses for Union leaders preferred to go instead to a particular establishment at the Cruiseship Berth for a Friday Frolic with Friends.

While they were out, the representatives of other Unions were busy working hard and striking deals for salary increases applicable to the second half of 2018 (retroactively), 2019 and 2020. Congrats to them.

It is my view that the absentee leaders showed poor judgement, weakness, recklessness and irresponsibility with their course of conduct. The offending actors should be censured. They are not fit to be charged with the conduct of serious affairs and I believe that they should be recalled. I am speaking as a member of the Teachers Union. I have no problem at all with my leaders following protocols, fighting dutifully on my behalf and bringing home the bacon. The current crop of infantile leaders needs to grow up or get out. In that case, they could keep their phones all they want.

Frank Wiseman