Sunday 5 July, 2020

CSA peeved with PM over 'ignored' letter

The Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) is somewhat peeved with Prime Minister Allen Chastanet over his disregard of a letter written to him last month regarding travelling and duty-free concessions.

The CSA, in a letter dated August 9, 2019, called on the prime minister to acknowledge the July 12 letter as it viewed his behaviour as a means of disregarding and disrespecting the CSA as the approved bargaining agent for public officers of the Central Service.

“This behaviour does not augur well for industrial peace and by extension, cordial relations. The CSA once again request of your good office, to give life to our request in letter dated July 12, 2019. For ease of reference, we again attached the said letter,” the letter to the prime minister dated August 9, 2019, stated in part.

The letter was signed by Cyprian Montrope, president of the CSA.

According to Montrope, the July 12, 2019 letter to the prime minister proposed an increase in travelling allowance paid to public officers and duty-free concessions for travelling officers as part of matters for consideration.

He noted in the July 12 letter that the government negotiating team said it did not have a mandate to negotiate these proposals.

“Given the GNT’s position, the Union seeks your intervention in this matter,” Montrope wrote in his July 12 letter to the Prime Minister Chastanet.

The CSA’s position is that travelling is a condition of work and as such public officers are required to purchase vehicles to carry out their assigned responsibilities to their post. Montrope said that for decades travelling officers purchased their own vehicles receiving an allowance which in most instances does not adequately compensate for the use of their vehicle while conducting official duties.

“Over the years, the CSA has engaged government through the Travelling and Subsistence Committee to deal with the matter of travelling. There are issues with the operation and function of this committee, which has left the CSA in a position where it cannot properly represent the interest of its members through this process,” wrote Montrope in his July 12, 2019 letter to the prime minister.

He said the CSA had reviewed this process concluding that this was not the appropriate way to deal with the matter of travelling for its members.

“Given that the Union has concluded negotiations with the GNT, the issue of travelling allowances and related matters for public officers remain unresolved. In light of that the CSA, wishes to continue negotiations on travelling and is requesting that government initiate a negotiations process specifically for this purpose,” wrote Montrope.

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