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Teachers take action to Financial Complex

Teachers take action to Financial Complex

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If a meeting between government officials and representatives from the teachers and public service unions fails to satisfy the unions’ demands, industrial action will continue.{{more}}

Saving an unexpected resolution yesterday, at press time on Wednesday, all evidence was pointing towards a fifth day, today, Friday, 17th October, of strike action by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) and the first day of industrial action by the Public Service Union (PSU).

SEARCHLIGHT understands that the PSU members have been called on to participate in a sick out.

“I think the Unions should stand up for their rights.” That was the take of Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, who told SEARCHLIGHT late Wednesday evening that he is observing the unfolding of the problems in relation to the implementation of the reclassification exercise.

Eustace, who said that the problems were not unexpected, said that he remembers when Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves boasted that other governments were afraid to tackle reclassification but his administration has taken it on.

“Well, he has to deal with the results of it now,” Eustace said.

On Wednesday, October 8th, the SVGTU voted to commence industrial action in protest of government’s handling of the reclassification process.

In Parliament the following day, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves called on the Union to reconsider their position.

But neither his call nor two subsequent meetings with Labour Minister René Baptiste has managed to shake the resolve of the teachers.

And now government has to deal with the prospect of a battle with another major union, as the PSU has also voted to take industrial action.

The bone of contention is the 7 per cent that government has offered on the mid point of the salary scales for the implementation of the second phase of the reclassification exercise.

The unions originally demanded 13 per cent, while the government offered six per cent.

The unions then agreed to drop their demand three per cent to 10 per cent, but government only offered one per cent to take their offer to seven per cent.

Unacceptable, the unions say, and it is only left to be seen if they would get the type of support from their membership and be able to back the government into a corner, and have their way.