Discussions on salaries and working conditions between the Civil Service Association (CSA) and the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) will commence on Tuesday, August 26, President of the CSA Mary Isaac has told St. Lucia News Online (SNO).
Isaac said: “I am very confident this time around, we are negotiating as just CSA. We hope we will have very fruitful discussions and the results are most likely going to be very positive and in keeping with our economic situation right now. We can arrive at a good compromise.”
In commenting on the two weeks given to complete discussions, Isaac said that period may be adequate, but if the need arises, then the CSA will request an extension.
“Usually the person that cannot keep that end of the bargain is the GNT; we don’t have a problem with that we have a task to perform. The two weeks cannot be graved in stone, it has to be flexible.”
The CSA president had called for the activation of the GNT back in June.
She said: “If the government wants to negotiate anything with us, including the reduction of salaries and so on, it should activate the negotiating team to start talks going into next year’s budget.
“You should negotiate for a period prior to the beginning of that period, but what you find is that sometimes the period ends and we are just starting talks for a past time frame, which is counter-productive,” Isaac said.
The president said whatever is considered in the negotiations regarding the island’s fiscal position will reflect what the government would present in next year’s budget.
The CSA has also publicly rejected the government’s five per cent wage cut and remains firm on its position. The association claims that the government had already budgeted for a cut in public servants salaries and then move to approach trade unions on the matter.
The CSA has argued that the manner in which this was done is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.