The New Today


Beware the ides of March

“In our human evolution, we either move from one stage to the other, or we find ourselves limited or confined in a stage without the capacity to make progress beyond the clear parameters of that stage of development.”

Is Trade Unionism alive here in Grenada? And are there still stalwarts within the movement that made indelible contributions with the likes of Sister Madonna Harford, Cde. Chester Humphrey, not forgetting former Senator Raymond Roberts, who I have always hailed, as being a champion in the Senate for workers when he served as Labour Representative.

I have to ask – is enough being done and was enough done in fighting for workers interest by our current union leaders?

I haven’t been seeing any militancy by members, and to be honest only carnival like activities which to me “doesn’t move those in authority, neither will they take those protesting/demonstrating seriously” and it’s a fact.

And it all has to do with leadership, my question is – can the union leaders unite and motivate workers within the movement?

I have heard a lot of (Johnny come lately) making a lot of empty promises that shall not materialise itself – because it’s rather “impossible.”

Categorically speaking, a lot of these union leaders aren’t educated enough on a number of things as it relates to trade unionism, Labor Code and fighting issues likewise civic education. I cannot count the number of errors in judgment they have made and is still making.

Let’s take a look back at the last industrial action that started in 2018 that eventually escalated into a stalemate between GUT, PWU and Government of Grenada.

Union members stayed off the job 2-3 times a week which resulted in docked salaries.

Although legal defense argued it was disciplinary but in my view it wasn’t because industrial action was taken by both unions and to me the entire issue was a total disaster because the stipulated guidelines weren’t followed by both unions in accordance with the labor code, therefore the approach taken was all wrong.

Firstly, Public Officers were asked to remain home to calculate 2% gratuity offer. Secondly the Labour Code never speaks about Rest and Relaxation in contemplation of pension as it relates to INDUSTRIAL ACTION. Therefore it’s fair to say that members were led to the slaughter by their leadership.

Point of Clarification.

The Education Act (21) states and I quote: A teacher who fails to report for duty within working days after the date he or she should’ve reported, without the permission of the Chief Education Officer, will be considered as having resigned.

Now let’s get back to the nitty gritty of the matter: For example the union representatives want to make all Temporary workers get Permanent appointment – how is that possible?

That’s not realistic and it’s only a fallacy because I don’t think many of the young guns know what the Attrition Policy states because for every (10) person that retires from service government will appoint (3).

I want to know how the union will fight for the confirmation of workers within the service especially when post or position isn’t available?

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One thing I believe in is being truthful and honest with myself and others because “when something is unrealistic, we must be willing to say it’s unrealistic” instead of leading workers on down a slippery slope into a precipice.

PWU recently held elections and ushered in a new and vibrant leader to lead the flock, I wholeheartedly extend my congratulations but I don’t know if it will be received well by the leadership and his entire team.

I may not be one of the most liked individuals because of my free speech and openness but “I wish the leadership well in going forward.” I’m not doubting the leadership skills or abilities of the team. But my question is – can the union leadership bring home the acclaimed prizes of restoring state pension, ceasing of contract work, reimbursement of docked salaries, lobbying for minimum wages to be increased based on last review in 2011? Likewise, the much talked about (4%) increase?

Point of Clarification

When one signed a Contract he or she enters into a formal and legally binding agreement. Therefore I don’t know how the union can fight for cessation of contract or even fight for these workers when the agreement is between EMPLOYEE and EMPLOYER. Note well almost all private sector businesses have workers on contract.

Good leadership is based on maturity likewise teamwork and how well the key player can work with those around him or her. Winning is one accomplishment but delivering is another – when there’s no delivery of action, then comes the judgment and ridicule from those that laid palm branches before your feet and they will solely be responsible for your crucifixion.

In past we have heard about the infighting against President Rachael Roberts by some of her executive members who viciously turned on her, in the words of our late Prime Minister Herbert Blaize and he told us, “what goes around comes around”.

When one listens to those treacherous, heart-wrenching stories it brings one thing to mind (the ides of March) that resulted in the assassination of Julius Caesar by his own senators.

My messages to the new President is “Beware the ides of March.” Much is desired from the trade union movement here in Grenada and many workers have lost faith and hope within the movement.

Many people have uttered their disgust and dissatisfaction over who has been labeled as sellouts within the movement. They’ve failed to lead the flock to the promise land but instead they were taken to the slaughterhouse and left to drown in their own blood.

In conclusion I’m asking – can hope be restored in Public Sector amongst workers under this new presidency or are we looking at a deficit executive who are young and inexperienced without much knowledge of public service?

“Only time alone will tell.”

Brian J.M. Joseph