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Is Public Service Union run by one-man executive?


Tue Aug 6, 2013

EDITOR: I have been a member of the PSU for a number of years and have always held an interest in becoming a member of the executive. However, I didn’t pursue this goal until the completion of my studies. On completing my studies, I got elected as the 1st vice president and was indeed extremely delighted to be given the opportunity to serve as an executive member of this noble organization.{{more}}

Shortly after being in office, the newly elected executive attended a meeting with the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO); and to my amazement, the manner and the attitude displayed by the president in that meeting left me totally ashamed; and after speaking to other executive members who attended the meeting, similar sentiments were expressed.

Now, the question may be asked, why am I, the 1st vice president, penning such an article? As a matter of fact, in some corners, I may be viewed as a villain, while others may view me as a hero. I seek to be neither. The objective of this article is to simply expose the monopolistic behaviour of the president, and in so doing, allow the members of the organization to be in a better position where they can make a more objective judgment on the actions of the Union.

The first issue which will be thrown in the public domain for them to make a judgment as to whether or not the actions of the president are dictatorial, is where he called an executive meeting in November of last year to inform members of the executive that they wouldn’t be attending a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the payment of the 1.5% that was paid to civil servants at the end of December last year. Now, how can you have a president of a trade union refusing to meet with the Prime Minister of a country to discuss matters of interest for the very members that that Union represents? To my mind, regardless of the situation, dialogue should always be an avenue that individuals are always willing to explore; more so, trade unions leaders.

The second situation which comes to mind is when the executive of the Union took a decision to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss the Port Police situation. At the conclusion of that meeting, a meeting with the Port Police was supposed to be convened to discuss the outcome. However, before our meeting with the Prime Minister materialized, the president single-handedly decided that we weren’t meeting with the Prime Minister again. Instead, he scheduled a meeting with the Port Police; and in that meeting, and during that meeting certain things were said that were totally out of place.

There is also the situation where correspondence bearing the letterhead of the Union continues to be distributed without the knowledge of the general secretary or other executive members. Now, I am not saying that the president isn’t entitled to send out correspondence. However, once that correspondence bears the letterhead of the Union, it makes every executive member accountable for the content. Thus, this being the case, it is my view that executive members should be aware of the nature of correspondence leaving the Union’s office.

In conclusion, it must be known that many efforts were made to change the dictatorship during our weekly meetings. However, it seems like all those efforts are in vain, as week after week, it remains the same. It is my hope that this article will really create the incentive for change, and thus, give the Union the opportunity to grow from strength to strength.

Leroy James

1st Vice President of the PSU.