PSU, SVGTU stage another protest
Members of two public sector unions and their supporters picketed for the second time in six days yesterday, to raise awareness of some issues that have been affecting workers in the public service.
Executive members of the Public Service Union and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) held the first picket last week Tuesday, which coincided with the presentation of the 2019 Estimates in Parliament.
And yesterday’s picket took place at the same time that the 2019 Budget of this country was being presented in Parliament.
Joel Poyer, a member of the Public Service Union (PSU) executive, who joined his colleagues to picket in front of the House of Assembly last week, said that it should be a straightforward process for public sector workers to meet and negotiate with the government of this country.
“We have been writing to the government about working conditions, negotiation of salary and of late, pension reform…up to now, we haven’t gotten any proper response from the government in meeting with us …so we decided in order to bring it to the masses attention, we would picket,” he said.
Poyer was among five public servants from the PSU who brought legal action against the Public Service Commission, claiming that the commission had acted unfairly in the promotion of some public servants.
He said that public servants could no longer put up with “the shabby treatment” and that it was time for the government to respect unions as partners when it comes to bargaining for the rights
“If they don’t want to listen, maybe when situation come, they will feel it. We are heading into elections and the masses would see who are for them and who are not for them. If you say you are a workers’ government then automatically, you would meet with your constituents,” he said.
President of the SVGTU, Wendy Bynoe also said that there are a number of issues that the unions cannot seem to get addressed by the government. She added that although the union has written several letters, they have been unable to receive any acknowledgement at all.
And she revealed plans of the unions to picket during the 2019 Budget presentation which took place yesterday.
Some members of the New Democratic Party (NDP) were also present at last Tuesday’s picket.
In previous weeks, the NDP held meetings with the executive of both unions and the party expressed its support to the public sector organisations.
“I am in solidarity with the Public Service Union and the Teachers Union. You know that they have their issues with the government from the salary negotiation and working conditions. They believe that they are not being heard or being listened to and I am in total agreement with their cause. And as a former teacher, I see it fit to stand here with them today,” Roland ’Patel’ Matthews, parliamentary representative for North Leeward told SEARCHLIGHT from the picket line.