President-General of the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union, (GTAWU), Andre Lewis has called on a well-known political activist of the current Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) Administration to desist from bribing its members into accepting government’s offer of the $750 one-off payment.
According to the TAWU boss, this act on the part of a surrogate of the ruling party is aggravating the Public Sector unions that are fighting to ensure that public servants get the rightful amount that they deserve.
Addressing members of the media at a press conference at TAWU’s headquarters on Green Street, St. George last Thursday, Sen. Lewis called for an immediate end to this behaviour by the NNP activist.
“We have picked up credible information that a political activist of the government…one of the most dedicated activist of the current government in terms of political activities has been engaged in the Ministerial Complex and in different departments of the government with a petition trying to get the workers to sign to accept government offer”, he said.
“That female activist who is going around, please stop that – you are riling us up further, please stop that. The political activist of this government and of the party must not get involved in industrial dispute, especially to the point where they are going at our work places with petition and promising the workers if they were to sign the petition now, they will get paid immediately”, he added.
Lewis did not identify the person.
Last week, the head of the Government’s Negotiating Team (GNT), Beryl Isaac, announced that prison and gazetted police officers have agreed to accept the one-off “sacrifice” payment offered by the NNP regime.
Isaac said that the Prison Welfare Association, Police Welfare Association and the Gazetted police officers have agreed and signed on to accept the EC$750 offer made to workers with more than three years of service and EC$650 for workers with less than three years of service.
She indicated that GNT is now waiting on the other public and private sector workers including TAWU, Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), and Public Workers Union (PWU) on whether or not they will accept the offer on behalf of their members.
During the 2017 budget presentation, Prime Minister Mitchell announced that his administration would provide public officers with an EC$1,000 one-off payment for their sacrifices during the period of 2013-16 when the island implemented a home-grown International Monetary Fund (IMF) structural adjustment programme.
“Mr Speaker, for the first time ever, we are working toward a one-off payment agreement to every public officer who would have served a substantial portion of the period 2013-2016, in recognition of their contribution and shared sacrifice during the Home-grown programme,” Dr. Mitchell said then.
But while some accepted the offer, TAWU and PWU rejected the offer demanding instead a one-off payment of EC$3,000.
They later agreed to EC$1,000 and a promise from the government to discuss the issue further.
Government is offering the one-off payment for 2013-16 as well as a three per cent increase for 2017 and 2018 and four per cent for 2019.
Labour Minister Oliver Joseph said that the new wage agreement will cost the government an estimated EC$7.3 million.
But the GNT has said that because of the Fiscal Responsibility Legislation, the government is unable to offer additional funds fearing that it will violate the 2015 legislation which put a cap on government’s salary at no more than nine per cent of the total budget annually.