Proposals for Cola to be presented – Unions meet in GOA today

POSTED: 08/29/13 12:44 PM

St. Maarten -Unions representing civil servants and teachers are expected to meet today in the Organized Consultative Body (GOA) to discuss the cost of living adjustment payout. The meeting is based on an invitation from Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams who bears responsibility for the Ministry of General Affairs. The unions will present a proposal for the adjustment, in process demonstrating that there is no need for government to outsource consultants to recommend solutions.
“As unions we will also present in that body, the GOA, a discussion paper on the sustainability of the adjustment. We will also be using a lot of facts and factors to show our rights. There is an ILO convention that says that there is a right as civil servants to have collective bargaining,” first vice president of the Windward Islands Chamber of Labor Unions, Claire Elshot said on Tuesday.
It is this convention that the union will use to premise its position on.
“We will also set the tone of what and how we would like to proceed in that meeting that is being called now.”
The unions; WITU, WICSU, ABVO and NAPB were expected to meet yesterday to finalize their preparations for the meeting. This is the first time since 2012 that the government will meet with the workers representatives in such a setting after promising last year to return to the forum with alternatives to the adjustment.
“We do not need to go into a meeting again to be explained by the prime minister that the adjustment is in the form that it is paid is not sustainable. If we are going to talk about sustainable development, then we need to come up with different scenarios and different recommendations so that they can be studied to be able to select a sustainable adjustment. The rhetoric of just saying to the unions and not coming to any conclusions or even have any proposals ready is not acceptable anymore,” she added.
Elshot noted that her workers are form on receiving their 2011 and 2012 payments.
“Definitely we are strongly opposed to a next consultant coming and taking the little change that could have been reserved to pay the balance of the adjustment for the coming years and spending it on consultancy that will produce paperwork that we could have come up with ourselves,” Elshot added.
The union says that if it can get a firm commitment from government during the collective bargaining process that spans the next three years, then it will be pleased with the outcome of today’s meeting.

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