The one-off saga between government and the Public Workers Union (PWU) and Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU) has seemingly come to an end.
The unions have finally agreed to accept the offer put forward by the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) in November, 2017 of $750 for public servants in the service for three years and more and $650 for public servants in the service less than three years.
The official signing took place at the Cabinet Room on the Sixth floor of the Ministerial Complex at the Botanical Gardens between Cabinet Secretary, Beryl Isaac, Permanent Secretary in the Department of Public Administration (DPA) Anna Brizan, Labour Commissioner Cyrus Griffith, President General of TAWU, Andre Lewis and PWU President, Rachael Roberts.
As an added bonus to the $750, the unions also negotiated a package of fringe benefits for their members.
THE NEW TODAY understands that public officers should receive the money from government at the end of March.
Isaac who is the Head of the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) said that although it was a long process, public officers are clearly better off than they were before.
“I want to thank first of all our employer who are really guiding us through this process and I want to thank PS Brizan and all the members of their team that has taken us to this point..”, she said.
“…It took dedication, collaboration, and where we are today, I want to thank everyone…it was a collaborative effort and I agree that the public officers are better off than when we started…it certainly is a great day and we look forward to continuing that collaboration because there is still a lot to be done”, she added.
The PWU President expressed the view that the signing ceremony that took place on the payment of the money would be happily welcomed by her members.
Like Isaac, Roberts said that public officers are now in a better position than before.
“So, as we sit here today, we know that our members would come out in a better position than we were before in December because we have now reached a number of agreement that would ensure that the $750 is not just $750 but it stands as more.
“…We want to say thanks to the government for this occasion that we are here today to sign off on and we look forward to continued negotiation so that we can satisfy the best interest of all our membership and that you would know that at the end we would be satisfied with the benefits we would have received”, she remarked.
TAWU’s Lewis thanked the GNT for working along with the unions to work out a package of benefits for their membership.
He also touched on the issue of pension restoration based on the recent agreement signed with the Keith Mitchell-led administration.
Lewis said: “In December, we did not yet have any agreement or sign anything in relation to pension and therefore your leaders felt that it was absolutely important to ensure that given the importance that the government would have placed on your one-off that we had to ensure that we got a number of things in place to ensure that you are granted and guaranteed certain benefits.
“As we speak right now, the unions and associations together with the government has signed off on the principles of the pension and that is a significant achievement.
“We want to thank our members, who despite the fact that some may have been making different calls, understood that it was not just about those of us who want it now but that there was a bigger picture and we are closer to achieving this.
Lewis referred to the pension agreement as one of “the most significant achievement that we have been able to make to date.”
He said he hopes that a “comprehensive settlement” on pension can be reached by the end of June.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of PWU, Brian Grimes echoed the sentiments of Roberts and Lewis, stating that the hard work has been vindicated.
“This $750 does not come simply isolated, based on the time that we have negotiated, we have garnered and gained fringe benefits also, which we will speak of at a later time which has significant benefits to our membership…so it’s not simply signing to the $750…it means more”, he said.
Grimes thanked the Grenade Union of Teachers (GUT) for extending solidarity by holding off on the singing of the one-off.
He said: “The fact that they (GUT) did not sign on immediately, showed a level of camaraderie within the Trade Union movement which was very important for us to reach to this point where the workers that we represent have gained benefits not just in terms of the $750 again but in terms of the fringe benefits”.
Last Friday the GUT accepted the offer from government on the basis that all other unions have signed and as it was extending solidarity on the issue it saw no need to prolong the matter.