(SNO) — The Saint Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU) has sent a strong message to the government of Saint Lucia as negotiations for the 2016-2018 triennium hit a stalemate, saying teachers are not prostitutes but professionals.
The union held an emergency meeting with members on Monday with permission from the government. Teachers and students stayed away from school on Monday and Tuesday.
The Trade Union Federation, of which the SLTU is a member, last year offered a lump sum for Christmas 2018 by the government in lieu of negotiations but the SLTU rejected it.
“Why did we reject the idea of the one lump sum?” a fiery President of the SLTU, Julian Monrose, told members. “One, we are not prostitutes. We are not. We are professionals and we must be treated as such. Two, which union that is worth its salt will negotiate for Christmas. So, there isn’t life after Christmas?”
Monrose said that the Trade Union Federation submitted proposals in November 2016 to the Allen Chastanet government on the matter but since the administration was still new, time was given to adjust.
The proposals were again submitted on August 14, 2018, but there has been no word from the government.
He said teachers in Saint Lucia are frustrated.
“It is like speaking to the ministry on those things, you feel at the meeting that you are getting somewhere,” he told members of the media. “They engage you, we speak but after the meeting, that’s it. The undertaking is not carried out.”
It has been six years since teachers in Saint Lucia have received a pay raise.
Meanwhile, members of the Civil Service Association (CSA) walked silently through the streets of Castries on Monday to vent over the stalled negotiations with the government.
CSA President Cyprian Montrope told HTS News that the walk was being done because members are frustrated because conclusions to the negotiations, which should have ended in 2016, remain elusive.
“The members have rejected the concept of waiting,” he said. “They believe the time has come for government to take the unions more seriously and that we complete negotiations in the shortest possible time.”
Montrope stressed that negotiations must continue.
“Members overwhelmingly accepted the fact that negotiations must continue in a manner that it is supposed to, which is a collective agreement tha tmust be completed…” he stated.