St. Lucia Teachers' Union News

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 St. Lucia Teachers' Union, P.O. Box 821 Castries, St Lucia, West Indies

News

New Year's Message from the General Secretary

Date: Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

From    :           General Secretary

 

To        :           All Members

 

Date    :           Monday 7th January 2013

 

On behalf of the Executive and General Council of the St. Lucia Teachers’ Union I wish all teachers a Happy New Year, 2013. May God continue to bless you. I also pray that he will grant you health, strength and continued guidance as you provide an invaluable service to the nation.

 

Members, these are difficult yet exciting times in which we are expected to operate. The school demands more of you and those demands are proliferated by the increased responsibilities that are placed on the school. Nonetheless we have been able to ensure that the nation’s children receive a sound education. We have more strides to make in education. These are necessary so that our students can effectively compete in the twenty first century. We teachers have the responsibility to lead the charge for the advancement of the education system.

 

The SLTU also has many challenges to overcome. Some of those challenges pose a threat to the traditional operations of the organization. One such instance of this was evident during negotiations for conditions of work. The Government Negotiating Team made proposals that would strip the SLTU of its ability to employ trade union tactics when handling grievances. With your support, the SLTU has to remain vigilant and steadfast in its resolve to ensure that teachers in St. Lucia get proper representation.

 

SLTU’s initiatives in the First Term

 

The SLTU is committed to serving its members. We are ensuring that members’ benefits are sustained and expanded upon. For 2012 the SLTU gave out scholarships to the children of members who were successful at the Common Entrance Examination. Members also enjoyed a wonderful Teachers’ Week 2012. Let me take this opportunity to commend you on your participation in Teachers’ Week 2012. One of the major thrusts of the executive is to provide opportunities for training of our union leadership and members. Hence we ended 2012 with a workshop for all Shop Stewards, Branch Representatives, and other union officers. This workshop was held at the Grande Riviere Secondary School on December 17, 2012. This forms part of a series of workshops that we are hoping to organize. I commend Shop Stewards and Branch Representatives for their participation in this workshop.

 

Special mention must be made of those teachers who represented SLTU at the Commercial League Netball Tournament. This year SLTU emerged champions of the tournament and went through the competition undefeated.

 

Plans for the Second Term

 

For this second term of the academic year 2012 / 2013, the SLTU is planning some activities. SLTU is scheduled to host the Caribbean Union of Teachers’ Les Harris Cricket Tournament in April 2013. There are also plans to host  a first ever SLTU cricket competition. Additionally, the SLTU is planning to have some training workshop on stress management for representatives of schools. International Women’s Day celebrations will also be held during the month of March 2013. Members should also note that SLTU's National General Meeting is due for April 2013.

 

We hope for your fullest participation and cooperation.

 

Negotiations

 

After the last meeting with members, the SLTU was mandated to return with the TUF at the negotiating table. The SLTU was also mandated to begin negotiations no lower than 16%. I am pleased to report to members that the SLTU returned to the negotiating table where a case for the position of Public Sector Unions and Staff Associations were presented to the Government Negotiating Team (GNT). To show that we were negotiating in good faith, Public Sector Unions and Staff Associations moved from their previous position to 15%. The GNT remained at its steadfast position, only providing some alternative options without giving us the opportunity to negotiate on them. The options they presented were as follows:

  • 0%, 0%, 0% and a Lump Sum of $1000
  • 0%, 0%, 1% and a Lump Sum of $750
  • 0%, 0%, 2% and a Lump Sum of $500
  • 0%, 0%, 3% to be paid in April 2013

Public Sector Unions and Staff Associations rejected the options presented by the GNT and demanded a meeting with the cabinet subcommittee on negotiations, since the GNT was not given a mandate to negotiate. Public Sector Unions and Staff Associations did get an audience with the chairperson of the cabinet subcommittee Dr. Jimmy Fletcher. Dr. Fletcher indicated that he had no power to negotiate and it was only the Minister of Finance who could do so.

 

A letter was subsequently written to the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance requesting such a meeting. That meeting was held on Monday 7th January 2013, one day after the Prime Minister delivered his New Year’s Message to the Nation. At that meeting, the Prime Minister was informed about the disgust of Public Sector Unions and Staff Associations with the New Year’s Message. It was further reiterated that the way in which salary negotiations were handled by the GNT was distasteful.

 

On the way forward, the followed was agreed upon:

  • The GNT will be given a new mandate to negotiate and resume negotiations with Public Sector Unions and Staff Associations.
  • The GNT will be divided into two subcommittees to handle negotiations on conditions of work with the hope of completing that portion of negotiations by February 15, 2013.

 

Members, the SLTU will always maintain its integrity and will always seek to do what is best for the membership and for the country as a whole. Rest assured that as negotiations proceed we will be updating you accordingly. I take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and support and to urge you to seek guidance from your union on this matter.

 

Once again I wish all members a Happy New Year.

 

Yours in the Struggle

 

 

_______________________

Don C. Howell

General Secretary

 

 

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