The United Workers Party (UWP) is concerned over the apparent veiled threat and subtle intimidation targeted at striking civil servants couched in the March 20, 2013 press statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister.
In a press statement, which purportedly sought to address the current industrial action by government workers, the UWP found it very instructive that a St Lucia Labour Party government which presents itself as being “pro-worker” would use such tactics to achieve its own ends.
History will record that one of the very first actions of the current administration in relation to the Labour Code, which it touted as the panacea to workers, is to use that same legislation as a tool for intimidating aggrieved government employees. History will also bear evidence that even during the 1979, 56-day strike the then UWP government never engaged in intimidation or threatened protesting civil servants.
The United Workers Party believes that there is still room for dialogue and discussion and that both parties should return to the bargaining table. In this regard the Parliamentary Opposition recommends that the Kenny Anthony regime – step back from its apparent rigid and inflexible posture – and engage the Civil Service Association in the true spirit of negotiations, one reflecting open-mindedness and some degree of sensitivity to the plight of the workers who serve our country.
We are concerned that the veiled threats by the government at this time can serve no useful purpose, but can only lead to the polarisation of the parties in the dispute.
The UWP calls on all trade unions and workers to condemn this attempt to intimidate civil servants and to break their resolve. This, along with the use of NICE workers as strike-breakers, is part of a concerted effort on the part of the St Lucia Labour Party government to undermine the current industrial action by civil servants.
We call on all civil servants to rally with their union, not to allow themselves to be intimidated by the efforts of the government, and to be guided by the provisions of the Labour Code (ref. 327, 383 and 385) which grant them the right to protest and protection against discrimination, intimidation and threats.