Friday 24 May, 2019

Union holds out for more as workers' patience tested

The demands of the Vieux-Fort General and Dock Workers Union on government, has resulted in a delay in the daily paid workers of the constituency councils which the union represents not receiving the lump sum the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) promised government employees.

The lump sum was proposed in a letter to the Saint Lucia Trade Union Federation (TUF) from the secretary of the GNT. According to the October 25, 2018 document, the proposed cash payout will cover the period April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2019.

According to a representative of their union, the delay in the workers not receiving the money is because the union is negotiating for a lump sum of $1,500 in addition to an increase of $50 in their salaries across the board.

So far, only the National Workers Union (NWU) has accepted the lump sum from government. It negotiated for a lump sum of $1000, which has already been paid to some of its daily paid workers. The others are expected to receive theirs soon.

The workers of the constituency councils say they are patiently awaiting their payment urging the union to try to expedite the negotiations. And because of their financial positions, some are prepared to accept the same amount the NWU negotiated for.

“I am prepared to accept $1000 because I am not sure whether government will be willing to pay $1,500 since it always complains about how the country has no money,” a worker represented by the Vieux-Fort General and Dock Workers Union told Loop News.

Another said he does not mind the Vieux-Fort General and Dock Workers Union accepting $1000 because he needs money to pay his bill now.

However, there are some who are prepared to wait a little longer to see what will happen.

The Vieux-Fort General and Dock Workers Union feels that the $1,500 which NWU has negotiated for on behalf of the daily paid workers it represents has put the unions which fall under the Trade Union Federation (TUF) in a peculiar position.

The amount paid to the workers the NWU represents is not a collective position arrived at by the unions of the TUF of which the NWU is not a member.

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