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Teachers Union, PSU call off strike action

Teachers Union, PSU call off strike action

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The impasse between government and two major trade unions here has taken a new twist.{{more}}

For now, both the Public Service Union (PSU) and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) have suspended their industrial action which had been staged over the implementation of the second phase of the reclassification process.

Both unions are now calling on the government to put the dispute in the hands of an independent mediatory team, whose membership they can together agree upon.

“Presently we (government and the unions) are both stuck at our positions,” said the General Secretary of the PSU Joel Poyer.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that the PSU wants to bring an end to the issue and this new suggestion presents an opportunity for a “win-win” situation between the government and unions.

This is also the view of the President of SVGTU, Joy Matthews, who said that no one loses with this suggestion.

“This is not about winning or losing, it is about doing what is best for all concerned,” she said.

Both unions however are dismissing suggestions that their change in strategy is simply an admission that their attempt, through industrial action, to corner the government into agreeing to their demand for a 10 per cent adjustment on the mid-point of the salary scales rather than government’s 7 per cent failed.

“No, the industrial action didn’t fail, we caused disruption,” Matthews told SEARCHLIGHT, but she however admitted that the turnout on the front line of the protest action wasn’t what the union hoped for.

Poyer told SEARCHLIGHT that he believed that part of the reason for the lack of support is because some public servants, while dissatisfied, didn’t want to open the door to the New Democratic Party (NDP).

He said that if the NDP were stronger, the results would have been different.

That said, Poyer said that the PSU is truly hoping for a favourable response from the government team on the mediation proposal.

When asked if she believed that the government would not take the unions seriously because of the lack of punch that the industrial action packed, Matthews said she hoped not.

“I really do hope that they respond favourably so that we could put this issue behind us,” she said. (KJ)

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