Unions call of strike, negotiations on pension and gratuity to continue

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Trade unions have called off their industrial action after the Grenada government reportedly made a commitment to outline new offers regarding the payment of pension and gratuity to retiring public servants, Acting Labour Minister, Anthony Boatswain, has said.
Boatswain said he had written to the Grenada Teachers Union (GTU) explaining that government will adopt new positions and was also moving to inform the other trade unions of the Keith Mitchell administration when the union leaders announced “ that they will go back to the negotiation table and called off the industrial protest.
“As a result of that commitment from the unions, there was now no need to appoint an arbitration tribunal,” he said, noting that teachers were not considered to me members of the essential services.
“That is I why I wrote to them, the arbitration was for essential workers,” he said, while admitting that discussions were happening with all the unions with a view to solving the impasse.
GTU president Lyndon Lewis pending the outcome of the meeting “teachers will be updated on the way forward.
“We ask all teachers to remain vigilant and focused. We have to continue to struggle if it becomes necessary,” he said in a statement to the membership.
Earlier, Boatswain had said he was invoking his powers under the Labour Relations Act and had summoned all stakeholders to a meeting to discuss the possibility of sending the matter to arbitration.
The unions are demanding a 25 per cent payment for their members but the government has said that it could only afford a two per cent increase and that meeting the union’s demands would have serious economic repercussions.
Boatswain thanked the unions for their understanding of the situation adding “it is my wish that a permanent solution will be found to this dispute that will benefit all concern”.
The Grenada Public Workers Union (GPWU) said that following the intervention of Roman Catholic Bishop, Clyde Harvey and the decision not to send the matter to arbitration, it was calling on all members to report for duty on Tuesday.
The unions and the Government’s Pension Engagement Committee team will continue their negotiations discussion on Tuesday.
Since November 5, GUT and Public Workers Union (PWU) members have taken industrial action in support of their bargaining agents.
Trade, Industry, Co-operatives and CARICOM Affairs Minister, Oliver Joseph, told Parliament last weekend that the unions have been promised a written response to their request following a meeting on Friday.
But he said instead of waiting for the Cabinet to meet on Monday to discuss the latest offer, the unions have called on public workers to remain home.
He said the unions are requesting no salary deduction and a 25 per cent gratuity instead of the two per cent being offered by the government.
“You will think that the unions will wait for the Cabinet to meet before taking action,” he said.
Prime Minister Mitchell, when he presented the budget said that his administration remains committed to offering the best possible package to workers within the context of the Fiscal Responsibility Law.

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