Teachers in Grenada have rejected a government offer to settle their protracted dispute over non-payment of salary increases from end of January through the issue of a 4% bond payment settlement.
President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Jude Bartholomew confirmed to THE NEW TODAY during Thursday’s protest march in the city that the deal offered by the Keith Mitchell-led administration is not acceptable.
“The teachers prefer cash – and they will want cash….,” said Bartholomew in response to a question posed to him.
According to the GUT boss, the placards which were decorated on him should give enough to anyone as regards the response to the 4% bond issue.
Speculation is rife that only a small minority of teachers are willing to accept the bond payment to resolve the contentious issue which has resulted in teachers resorting to industrial action including street marches and night vigils across the island in recent months.
Well-placed sources have said that a majority of teachers are totally opposed to the settlement agreement with bonds.
A source familiar with the negotiation said that the vast majority of teachers are demanding payment in cash and not through the acceptance of any bond instrument due to a distrust of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Mitchell.
I heard this bond thing but I ain’t agree for this thing too. This man (PM Mitchell) we dealing there with cannot be trusted and that is the reason why am not in agreement for them to take no bond,” she said.
“When you think your bond mature and you have something to collect that man so crooked and wicked, you would realise that the bond don’t worth nothing and you won’t get nothing,” she added.
According to the source, some teachers have also raised the issue of accepting an offer involving shares in Grenlec which has just returned back under state-control after 26 years in the hands of private sector control with the U.S Company WRB Enterprises.
She expressed fears that Grenlec could collapse under the Mitchell-led government as was the case with the company back in the 1984-90 period when the island was subjected to massive electricity black-out and load shedding.
She said it has been proven “time and time again” that PM Mitchell cannot be trusted on many issues.
“…We can’t go and take this bond thing – pay us the money in cash, hard-earned cash. That is my response on it. I am telling you that’s my take on it.,” she remarked.
The source also raised a number of questions about the promised bonds from the Mitchell-led regime.
“How long do you have to wait for this bond to mature? How valuable will it be at the time of maturity? How will it work? 4% in bond now and 4% in bond next year will not have the same value. When will it mature? When will you be able to cash in on it?
“When you go to cash in on it, will you be able to get anything for it? Will anything be there for you to cash in on knowing the individual you dealing with? Nah – if was somebody else – not that n…y one. If was somebody else. I have no confidence in this deceitful, lying man.
The other two unions engaged in the 4% issue are the Public Workers Union (PWU) of Brian Grimes and the Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU) whose President is Senator Andre Lewis.
Government had maintained that it was suffering from a drop in revenue due to the impact of Covid-19 on the economy in the past year.