Gov’t called upon to demonstrate appreciation and respect to WASCO employees

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Gov’t called upon to demonstrate appreciation and respect to WASCO employees
Dr. Fletcher
Minister for Public Utilities Dr James Fletcher

The United Workers Party calls on the Minister of Finance Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and the Government of St Lucia to display greater responsibility and commitment in addressing the current plight of the Water & Sewage Company (WASCO).

A major aspect of Government’s intervention to the ongoing predicament of WASCO is its response to the cries of the employees of WASCO concerning the confirmation of outstanding payments due to them.

The Government is well aware of the predicament of WASCO employees having had meetings and received correspondence from the workers bargaining agents as far back as May 2012.

During a media interview conducted during that same month, the Minister for Public Utilities Dr James Fletcher declared that he was aware of the impatience of the Unions and workers; the Minister went on to state that the Cabinet of Ministers had appointed a committee which was required to report back within a week with recommendations to address the “short-term” issues of WASCO.

The question must therefore be asked: What has the Minister done to reciprocate and demonstrate his appreciation for the patience and tolerance of the hardworking employees of WASCO?

Since assuming responsibilities as Public Utilities Minister, Dr. Fletcher has only proven himself capable in articulating “glossy” ideas for the operations of WASCO with nothing tangible to show. While Minister Fletcher has spent the last year treating the challenges of WASCO with theoretical prescriptions, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Kenny Anthony continues to use WASCO as an avenue to advance political mileage and patronage by insisting through the Cabinet that the company employ an amnesty programme to bail-out bad debtors.

The UWP would like to place on record the fact that during its term in office it demonstrated its commitment to the company and its workers by settling a ten-year outstanding obligation which resulted from the cessation of operations under the previous SLP Administration. This payment to WASCO workers, which was made on December 4th, 2009, amounted to over EC $4 Million.

The United Workers Party therefore calls on Minister for Public Utilities Dr. James Fletcher and Prime Minister Anthony to stop their procrastination and to demonstrate appreciation and respect for the workers of WASCO in their just demands for payment of outstanding wages. The failure of Government to fulfill its obligations will only further compromise the reliability and integrity of the nation’s water supply.

The UWP would like to express its solidarity with the affected workers and calls on the public to understand the plight of the workers and show support for their cause. The support of the public will serve to hasten the conclusion of the current impasse and return a condition of stability as it relates to the maintenance of a healthy and reliable water supply.

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  1. To strike may well be a right in certain circumstances, but that doesn't imply every strike is justified. Or that every wage increase is justified. I know we're all supposed to think our coworkers in SL all deserve much higher pay and that the nearly incessant striking around the country is warranted, but sometimes that's not the case. WASCO was already losing millions of dollars. Maybe it is time to consider privatization.
    People having a strong sense of injustice isn't always the same as actual injustice. People only judge within their frame of reference.
    Sometimes - and I know how popular this is going to be - union leaders like to manufacture a strike situation for less than honest reasons. There is one union President in particular who wants to be in the news every day. This was his publicity strike. There was no true "settlement" because WASCO had already promised payment by the end of Dec, so nothing changed. Well actually something did change and that is our WASCO bill which is going up up up.

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