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St Lucia PM not intervening in wage dispute until after Christmas

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

St Lucia PM not intervening in wage dispute until after Christmas

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CASTRIES, St Lucia  – Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony says there will be no meeting with public service unions until after the Christmas holidays after he had been called upon by the unions to intervene in the ongoing wage negotiations.
Both the unions and the government appear to be entrenched in their positions despite a slight adjustment in their original proposals. The unions had expressed a desire to meet with Anthony and yesterday expressed the hope that he would sit with them before the Christmas holidays.
However Anthony, who returned to the island over the weekend from attending the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Bureau meeting in Haiti, said he had not been briefed on the status of the negotiations and as a result it would be premature to intervene at this stage.
He said that while he was not adverse to meeting the unions he would be addressing the nation on the fiscal consequences in accepting the unions’ request for a 16 per cent salary increase over the 2010-2012 triennial.
“There has been a historical practice that the Unions would end up having discussions with the Prime Minister and I guess this is no different from that tradition.
“This issue is not one solely between the public service unions and the St. Lucia government. This is an issue that also involves the people of St. Lucia who need to know the full consequences of the demands of the public servants and for that reason it is essential that I make frank and public disclosure to the public at large”.
Anthony said he therefore hoped to address the nation very early in the New Year to inform the population on the issues and the challenges that the country faces.
The government has offered the unions zero per cent increase, and a one off payment of EC$1000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents). (CMC)