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More industrial action may be coming soon

More industrial action may be coming soon

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Further industrial action may be on the horizon if a second call to the government for mediation by both the Public Service Union (PSU) and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) remains unheeded.{{more}}

That was the joint statement made by both Unions on Monday at a press conference held at the SVGTU Headquarters at Mckie’s Hill.

The resumption of strike action, along with other undisclosed methods, was hinted at by both General Secretary of the SVGTU Philbert John, and President of the PSU Cools Vanloo.

John, addressing the media, indicated that government officials have refused to mediate, following the suspension of industrial action about two weeks ago.

He indicated that a letter to the Unions further recommended that negotiations commence on salaries for 2009 and beyond.

“We took the initiative to seek mediation; we advised that a third party be involved to attempt to settle the issue and they say they have found it unacceptable.

“We have already written to the government and indicated that their position represents a flagrant disregard for the industrial relations climate in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The government’s position to date jeopardizes seriously our partnership with them and we are wondering whether or not we should be engaged in partnership with the government in any initiative considering their approach to this issue.”

John further said that the Executive of the Union would be recommending to their membership that resumption to industrial action take place.

Making his input, Vanloo said that it was very unfortunate that the government has decided not to have an independent panel of persons address the issue.

He questioned the ability of the Unions to negotiate salaries with government, when there was an unresolved issue still in contention.

“Clearly this is not possible, because if the government cannot demonstrate good faith in respect of $200,000 to be paid to over 1,500 public servants, can the Union reasonably expect the government to act in good faith for an eleven or 15 per cent increase for over 6,000 public servants?”

Vanloo earlier stated that the difference between the government’s proposed 7 per cent and the unions requested 10 per cent is approximately $200,000 to be paid to reclassified workers.

The Union leaders stressed that they were not disputing the process of reclassification as claimed by officials, but are rather challenging the implementation of salary bands.

The impasse between the groups has existed since earlier this year and has led to a number of disruptions, after efforts to resolve the dispute failed. (JJ)