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Industrial Climate Remains the Same Today But There is Still Tension

Saint Lucia’s industrial landscape today remains the same as it was yesterday as employees of the government, barring a slight grumble from lecturers at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, were paid their full salaries on the schedule date which is today April 23.

However, tensions over salary cuts remain as a proposal from government towards that end is still on the table, even though trade unions have shown a dislike of it.

There was anxiety on the part of some workers yesterday regarding payment of their salaries as it was alleged that government was looking at paying them a week later than the scheduled date.

That supposition resulted in the Trade Union Federation writing to its affiliates denying that it had reach an agreement with government on an April 30 pay date for workers.

Image of PWA President, Travis Chicot
PWA President, Travis Chicot

The trade unions were never in favour of pushing the April 23 pay date to April 30. The Civil Service Association and the Police Welfare Association have both come out against the deferment and adjustment of salaries.

Travis Chicot, President of the Police Welfare Association has called on members to be resolute in the fight to maintain financial security.

“In a period where police officers are asked to give more of themselves, sacrifice even quality of life, the PWA believes this is not the time to impose severe financial constraints on its members,” Chicot said.

In the case of lecturers at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, they were told via correspondence that government is assessing its ability to issue to the College its monthly subvention for the month of April, 2020 and that the College has not received the subvention.

“We are not able to respond by paying salaries for the month of April 2020, as per the scheduled date,” stated part of a letter signed by the College principal to lecturers.

President of the Trade Union Federation, Julian Monrose in a release earlier today noted that “while we are happy that the government paid basic salary, we are getting reports that the government illegally withheld the allowances of some workers. We are also very concerned that the staff at some statutory bodies like the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College have not been paid and have not been given any indication as to when.

Image of President of the St. Lucia Teachers Union (SLTA), Julian Monrose [PHOTO: PhotoMike]
President of the Trade Union Federation, Julian Monrose [PHOTO: PhotoMike]
“If that’s the case, then the government will be creating an atmosphere that will make the next round of discussions very difficult. We trust that the government will act in good faith so that we can be ‘all in’ in finding a workable solution to Saint Lucia’s problems,” Monrose said.

Meanwhile a clash looms between trade unions and government over a proposal on the table from government asking for a 50% pay cut of salaries in the salary grades of 7 – 18 and 75% cut in salaries from grades 19 – 21.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

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