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PSA workers call on Duke to settle negotiations

Published: 
Saturday, August 11, 2018

Less than a dozen public servants represented by the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) staged a noisy protest outside the Public Services Association (PSA) headquarters, calling on PSA president Watson Duke to settle their outstanding negotiations.

The protest was organised yesterday by BIGWU’s PSA branch president Kester Duncan at PSA’s Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain office, as the PSA workers armed with placards called on Duke to stop playing games with their negotiations which has been outstanding for nine years.

Bearing placards and chanting “Watson in the building hiding,” the workers said enough was enough.

Duncan is contenting that its 36 workers have not received an increase in salary since 2009.

On Thursday, Duke called on the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) to put $15,000 into each public worker’s account.

Duncan said the same way Duke asked the CPO to put the money in all public officers’ account, they are asking to bring their negotiations to an end.

“If Duke wants us to take him serious he supposed to lead by example. The same thing he is asking his employer, we are asking our employer, which is him to settle our negotiations.”

He said BIGWU submitted proposals on May 5, 2017 and has received no response from Duke.

“He is not even trying to meet with our representing union to sit around the table to come to an understanding to get negotiations going.”

In February, Duncan said 11 of the 36 workers whose task is to serve public officers were wrongfully dismissed which was taken before the court and a ruling given that they be reinstated.

When the permanent workers, some of whom had 28 years’ service returned to work in June, they faced locked doors.

Duke, in response to Duncan, said every time the PSA’s talks about salary negotiations for its members up comes BIGWU saying they want money too.

The union leader accused BIGWU of politicking at PSA’s headquarters and campaigning for PSA’s members.

He said PSA has sent representatives to meet with BIGWU on several occasions, the last being in July to discuss pertinent issues.

“There is no need to see me, why are they taking on Watson Duke personally? We have officers who are responsible for treating with those things.”

Duke accused BIGWU of trying to mobilise against the PSA.

“They are fighting a union who is not fighting them,” Duke said.

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