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Acting PM: Move unreasonable

Acting PM: Move unreasonable


The decision by teachers to take two days off so early in the second term of the school year has been hailed as totally unreasonable by acting Prime Minister Mike Browne.{{more}}

Browne, the Minister of National Mobilization, made this remark during a statement broadcast on radio and television on Tuesday, shortly after the executive body of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union announced that they were taking Wednesday and Thursday off to “rest and reflect”, in light of their dissatisfaction with the new salary scales following the reclassification exercise.

“The action proposed by some teachers will definitely not help the process,” Browne stated. “The Trade Union did not follow basic procedures of using existing channels.”

Browne, in his statement, admitted that the reclassification exercise was a difficult work in progress, and that there were other sections of the public service which were having objections to some parts of the exercise, but they were dealing with the matter more diplomatically.

“Other public servants have been following the guidelines of appeal of reclassification concerns. For example, in the Ministry of National Mobilization and Social Development, I have encouraged staff members to meet and discuss their reclassification concerns and anomalies. And I have been advised that there are some.”

The former teacher and trade unionist indicated that during informal talks between himself and members of the executive body of the Union, there were no indications that industrial action would be taken.

He said that Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who was at the time in London on official business, also indicated that union heads promised to take no action until he returned, and he (Browne) believed that the industrial action was politically motivated.

“There is absolutely no doubt that the Teachers’ Union meeting yesterday served as a magnet to pull anti-government teachers who pushed the decision in this direction. As a teacher at the meeting told me, NDP teachers flocked to that meeting. It is known that the Executive lost control of that meeting. Be warned that there are persons who will use the legitimate concerns of teachers for their own ends!”

The acting PM listed some of the benefits teachers are receiving under his ULP administration and urged teachers to forgo industrial action; a call that fell on deaf ears.