NDP better informed about the problems confronting the teaching profession
The New Democratic Party (NDP) met with the Executive of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU) last Thursday, January 17 at Democrat House, the Party’s Headquarters.
The Union’s delegation was led by President Wendy Bynoe and included past President Oswald Robinson and several other members of the Executive.
The meeting was convened at the invitation of the Leader of the Opposition and Party President, Dr Godwin Friday. Other NDP parliamentarians and senior party members present at the meeting included Member for East Kingstown and former Leader of the Opposition and President of the NDP Arnhim Eustace and Member for Central Kingstown and NDP Vice-President, Major St Clair Leacock.
A release from the NDP said Dr Friday requested the meeting with the Union so that the NDP might get a better understanding of the issues the Union was advancing on behalf of its members.
At the meeting, Dr Friday and the other members garnered first-hand information from the Union on such issues as salaries, promotions and working conditions of teachers. The Union also advised of proposals being presented to the Government on behalf of its members and of its call for a return to effective collective bargaining between unions, as representatives of employees, and the Government as employer.
“The NDP is now better informed about the problems confronting the teaching profession. The NDP notes with great concern the failure of the ULP government to engage in collective bargaining over the years, especially as evidenced by the fact that the last negotiated salary increase for teachers took place as far back as 1999. This means that all salary increases under the ULP government have been legislated. The NDP considers it a shame that a Government which considers itself a labor government would intentionally obstruct and disregard the collective bargaining process.
“The NDP is calling on the Government to return to the bargaining table with the unions in accordance with the Government’s obligations under ILO Conventions and with historic practice in SVG. The government should respect the bargaining process and engage in respectful and good-faith negotiations with teachers and public servants. The NDP regards the purported imposition by the Government of a 1% salary increase as an affront to the Union and to the bargaining process and stands solidly behind the unions in their efforts to represent their members,” a release from the NDP said.