The St. Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) has accused government of delay tactics in its negotiations of collective bargaining agreements for 2012-2015.
CSA President Mary Isaac said discussions on monetary benefits have been dragging for months with no conclusion in sight at a time when salaries would traditionally be discussed at the round table.
“We have not been informed of when we will be meeting next,” Isaac said.
“The government negotiating team has now resorted to meeting each individual trade union, and at the rate they are going, we do not see much progress in terms of having negotiations completed. We believe that the move may be a delay tactic, deliberately, so that members can continue to lose benefits,” she added.
Negotiations began earlier this year with reports that the government negotiating team had informed unions that the administration was not in a position to meet salary increase demands. Agreeing to increases would mean that government would have to borrow, the unions were told.
In the last few months, the government negotiating team has been postponing talks, Isaac said.
The president of the largest trade union on island explained that fringe benefits in a collective agreement are not retroactive.
She added that government is setting a very dangerous precedent because “when you have disgruntled members in the workplace it filters down to poor quality service given to the public. I believe that something should be done to try to bring negotiations to a conclusion”.
Isaac said the executive awaits the general council meeting on November 10, 2012 when it is expected that members will give the executive a mandate in how to proceed on the matter.
The issue, the president noted, is of grave concern given the sharp increase in the cost of living.