Former President of the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA), Kingsley St Hilll, has urged that public servants be paid a just wage, ahead of negotiations between trade unions and the government for the 2016-2019 period.
He defined a just wage as a wage that enables a worker to take care of his family.
Just this week, another former CSA President, Mary Isaac, who is currently Saint Lucia’s Minister of Health and Wellness, urged trade unions not to bite the hand that feeds them while they stand up for their rights.
St Hill noted that trade unions have been called upon over the years to make sacrifices.
“Remember things were bad, the economy was not growing,” he told St Lucia Times.
The former trade union leader noted that Saint Lucia was close to being pushed into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
St Hill said that Isaac, who was then President of the CSA, urged the government to go after hotels that were owing occupancy and other taxes.
He declared that Isaac’s suggestion was a good one at the time.
“What has changed now that she is in government?” St Hill asked.
He recalled that Isaac and the then CSA administration advised that Saint Lucia’s overseas embassies be downsized.
But St Hill declared that there is evidence that the contrary is currently the case although Isaac is in government.
“Now, when she made the statement not to bite the hand that feeds you, I agree with that. I think every single person would agree that you must not bite the hand that feeds us, but every trade unionist should know that their role is to further the interests of their members,” St Hill asserted.
“This economic pie which foreigners enjoy – the Syrians are enjoying, the Indians are enjoying, now the Chinese are enjoying. The local people – especially those who are administering the rules and regulations that conduct the economic affairs, the social affairs of the people of Saint Lucia, they must get part of the pie,” he told St Lucia Times.