Below is a statement released by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture in response to the ongoing industrial action by government workers who are members of the Civil Service Association
The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture notes that the Civil Service Association (CSA) has rejected the last offer of the GNT (Government Negotiating Team) and the Civil Service Association intention to take strike action effective Monday, March 18, 2013.
The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture categorically condemns this decision and does not support this action. As before, the Chamber strongly believes that the parties must work to resolve this impasse.
The Chamber has noted that all other members of the TUF (Trade Union Federation) have arrived at an agreement with the government and we applaud the negotiators on this success. We are confident that the CSA and the GNT can conclude an agreement as well, and we encourage the use of the arbitration process as part of the continued negotiations. Neither strike action nor the backtracking on offers previously on the table is helpful in arriving at a conclusion.
The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the entire private sector of St. Lucia, wishes to remind the CSA that St. Lucia, like many countries globally, faces difficult and unprecedented economic challenges which call for reasonableness and responsibility at this time. The economy cannot afford the impact of industrial action, nor should we subject the citizens and the economy to such actions.
Since the CSA believes that an impasse has been arrived at, the logical next step is to go to arbitration. It was unacceptable for a small group to hold the entire country hostage to achieve their narrow interests. The St. Lucia chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture urges the CSA to do the responsible thing, call off the strike and return to the negotiating table.
Our country is in a precarious position and needs men and women at goodwill to step forward and put country before self, especially in this most sensitive matter. Once again the Chamber places its good office at the disposal of the parties to bring this matter to a peaceful and amicable conclusion.