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SVGTU Executive calls on president to resign

SVGTU Executive calls on president to resign


The president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) has been asked to resign by her Executive, but she is ignoring the call, saying she would resign only if it is the wish of the general membership.{{more}}

SEARCHLIGHT has in its possession a copy of the letter dated Tuesday, November 25, addressed to President Joy Matthews, in which the Executive took offence to her attending a recent budget consultation meeting with Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and his economic team.

“The members register their concern about your action. This they deem to be inimical to work of the Union and serves to jeopardize the integrity and solidarity of the National Executive,” the letter states.

“It is with regret that I inform you that the National Executive calls on you to tender your resignation as President since there is no longer any confidence in your capacity to fulfill the mandate as President, given your recent actions,” the letter signed by General Secretary of the SVGTU, Philbert John, states.

When SEARCHLIGHT caught up with Matthews, she said that while the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) and the Public Service Union (PSU) did in fact take a decision to boycott the budget consultation, she did not attend in her capacity as president of the SVGTU.

“I am the General Secretary of the National Labour Congress (NLC) and I was asked by Noel Jackson, the president of the congress, to attend the consultation in that capacity,” Matthews explained.

She said that she doesn’t believe that she did anything wrong by attending the meeting.

Furthermore, she is adamant that it will take a decision by the general membership to make her give in to the Executive’s demand.

President of the PSU, Cools Vanloo, also weighed in on the issue. He told SEARCHLIGHT that he would not do any business with a Joy Matthews-led SVGTU.

Vanloo said that the PSU is a member of the NLC and since the struggle with government over the reclassification issue, the NLC was asked, to no avail, to issue a statement in support of the unions.

“Miss Matthews was wrong,” Vanloo said.

Meanwhile, at an SVGTU press conference held last Wednesday, November 26, John announced that the reclassification issue has not been resolved.

This, despite an announcement by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves that monies resulting from government’s R-2 reclassification determination will be paid out in November’s pay packets.

The Prime Minister also announced that a 12 per cent increase in salaries will be applied to public servants over the next three years.

John said that 12 per cent is about 50 per cent less than what the Union would have negotiated, had it not been for the decision to boycott all salary and other discussions until the reclassification issue is settled satisfactorily.

So as far as the SVGTU stands, the impasse continues.

“The general membership has not changed its direction,” John said.

He said that a picket is planned for December 1, at 3:30 p.m., in the vicinity of the House of Assembly, to coincide with the Prime Minister’s budget address.

Notably absent from the press conference was President Joy Matthews.

SEARCHLIGHT was reliably informed at press time that a release was to have been issued by Matthews indicating that John and the Immediate Past President Otto Sam, who was also at the press conference, were not authorized to speak on the Union’s behalf.

Hence, all that they said should be regarded as unofficial, Matthews’ release was expected to state in principle.