The Public Workers Union (PWU) in Grenada is looking to hit the streets of St. George’s next Friday to send a signal to the Keith Mitchell-led government on outstanding issues facing nurses on the island.
A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the union has already written to the Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James seeking permission to stage the street march.
“I think the permission was granted”, said the official.
According to the official, he suspects that the Police High Command might have passed on the information to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell in his capacity as Minister of National Security.
He said the union believes that this would have prompted Dr. Mitchell to engage on a number of visits to Ministries and Government Departments to meet with public officers.
He spoke of the PWU hoping to use the street protest to send a message to the Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) that it is not happy with the job security afforded to the island’s nurses.
The union has raised concern with the decision of the administration to offer some nurses employment under a new agency.
The PWU has expressed concern about the move saying that all public officers must be hired through the Public Service Commission (PSC).
According to a union official, the PWU is fearful that Mitchell’s NNP might be seeking to create a parallel civil service in order to get around directives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to exercise restraint in public service hiring of workers.
The official pointed out that the PWU is hoping to get other unions on the island to send out some of its members to Friday’s street protest “to show solidarity”.
Two other unions – the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) and the Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU) – represent public sector employees in Grenada.
Another top union official said the PWU is also planning to use the street protest action to raise concerns about a number of Safety and Health issues affecting public officers.
This newspaper was unable to contact Acting President of PWU, Rachael Roberts to get confirmation about the planned street protest.
Roberts is said to be out of the country attending a Caribbean Public Service Association meeting in neighbouring St.Vincent &The Grenadines.
The source said that she would be back on the island in time to lead the protest action.
Speculation is rife that Roberts intends to contest the post for President of the PWU at the next election as the incumbent Adrian Francis who is believed to be out of Grenada on medical grounds might not seek another term.