Tuesday 29 September, 2020

TUF displeased that PWA negotiated with govenment without them

The Police Welfare Association’s (PWA) completion of salary negotiations with the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) earlier this month seems to have rankled the umbrella body of trade unions known as the Trade Union Federation (TUF).

“It made no sense for us not to have negotiated salaries together,” TUF President Julian Monrose said on a recent television talk show called ‘St. Lucia Journal’ on Helen Television Service (HTS).

Monrose believes that the PWA’s acceptance of the GNT’s offer regarding salaries creates a discrepancy. Whether this discrepancy could impact the continuance of TUF’s own negotiations with the GNT on Friday, Monrose did not say.

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However, the TUF president was quick to note that the PWA’s acceptance of the GNT offer regarding salaries “does not bind the rest of us to a decision made by another party.”

The PWA was once a member of the TUF. It withdrew from the umbrella trade union body last December in an overwhelming vote by members. At the time its president Travis Chiquot said members felt they were strong enough to continue negotiations on their own.

Government is offering a one-time payment of EC$1,500 to its unionised employees vis a vis a zero percent increase in salaries or a very minuscule one for two trienniums, the 2016 – 2019 and 2020 – 2022 trienniums.

The TUF, which represents the island’s nurses, doctors, teachers and others has so far rejected the lump sum. The TUF this time around is going all out for a salary increase stating that a lump sum does not improve the long-term situation of its members, but rather makes them worse off.

Monrose explained that this can be seen when members reach retirement age. A lump sum, he said, does not increase a member’s monthly pay cheque from the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) when that member goes on retirement since one’s retirement cheque from the NIC is based on what one puts in.

“What you put in NIC is what you’re going to get out of NIC,” Monrose said further asserting that increasing one’s salary base is better in the long run to getting lump sums.

The PWA completed negotiations with government for the 2016 – 2019 and 2020 – 2022 trienniums earlier this year saying it won a victory as a result.

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