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ST. LUCIA-LABOUR-Government signs collective agreement with six public sector unions.

The St. Lucia government Friday announced it had met with the Trade Union Federation (TUF) to sign collective agreements concerning, in part, pay increases for government employees.

Acting chairman for the Government Negotiating Team (GNT), Philip Dalsou, said that the signing ceremony which took place earlier this week 'marks the culmination and successful conclusion of negotiations with a number of the public sector unions' adding that it was also critical in 'achieving a win-win outcome in these negotiations.'

According to the government statement, the parties, including six public sector unions, signed off on two collective agreements.

It said one of the agreements was for the triennium April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2019; and the other for the period April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2022.

'The agreements include salary increases-two per cent for the 2016/2019 triennium, and four per cent for the 2019/2022 triennium-and increases in fringe benefits,' the statement added.

'This is a major achievement as it brings negotiations current. It is my hope that we can maintain this situation as it enables government to plan better for the future, and allows employees to receive their benefits on a timely basis,' Dalsou said.

The statement quoted the TUF president, Julian Monrose, as saying that the negotiations were arduous and somewhat satisfactory.

'The reality is that our members have made tremendous sacrifices for the state at times when it has been very difficult. The least they expected is that the employer would have recognized their contributions and would have made the bargaining process a little less difficult.

'However, the leadership of the various public sector unions represented their members with honour and carried out their role which is to ensure that members get a fair deal.'

Monrose said that while the TUF was leaving 'these negotiations satisfied to some extent we still believe that better could have been done.

'It would be remiss of me if I did not indicate our displeasure at the hard line taken by the employer not to award the retroactive pay tax-free in an environment where we know that big businesses get all sorts of tax breaks. But we acted in good faith.

'Our aim was to bring some relief to our members, and while I can't say we are happy, to some extent we are pleased to sign the collective agreements to bring an end to a chapter of the negotiations,' he added.

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Publication:CANA News
Date:Aug 23, 2019
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