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Grenada going to IMF, want union support


SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Grenada going to IMF, want union support

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ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) – The Grenada government is calling on trade unions to accept a three-year wage freeze as it seeks to enter into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deal with an ailing economy.
Minister of Economic Development, Planning and Trade Oliver Joseph, told radio listeners and television viewers yesterday that the Keith Mitchell administration was seeking the assurances from the trade unions ahead of signing and submitting a letter of intent to the Washington-based financial institution.
“I want to appeal to all the Grenadian people to work with us, this is a national issue, this is not a political issue, we are about nation building, we have this long term plan to see Grenada out of this fiscal situation it is in, and at the end Grenada will benefit,” he said.
“The letter of intent has not been signed as yet. In the letter of intent (it) explains the intention of the government. The letter of intent could have been signed today or it could be signed tomorrow (but) the government decided let us have discussion with the unions because what the IMF is saying you as a government said to us over the three year period there would be no increase, but we want to see a signed document by the unions committing to that,” he said.
“So the measures that we said we would do, the letter of intent now, before we sign it we want to be sure that we reach agreement on all the areas, but we have a deadline in which we want to sign because that is contingent on getting support.
“So the sooner we sign and reach agreement the better for the government because then resources, the first tranche will be released…so it is in our interest to sign it. So very shortly it will be signed and submitted and the programme of support will commence,” he added.
But President of the Grenada Trades Union Congress (TUC), Madonna Harford, who also appeared on the television programme, raised issues with the manner in which the government was going ahead with the strategy.
But President of the Grenada Trades Union Congress (TUC), Madonna Harford, who also appeared on the television programme, raised issues with the manner in which the government was going ahead with the strategy.
The trade union official admitted that while Grenada was not isolated from the impact of the global economic and financial crisis, “the fact remains that somehow…decisions that would have not been very good or wise decisions coming back to haunt us right now.
“We have to fix the situation, we have challenges, you have high unemployment, high debt, you have low productivity, you have a lot of challenges to fix and whether it is this government or a next government…somebody has to bell the cat and fix those challenges.”

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