The Trade Union Federation (TUF) has expressed concern about governance without consultation, with the President of the trade union group, Julian Monrose, asserting that the concern relates in particular to the way the government carries out its business.
“Yes, we understand that you have elections every five years and politicians are elected to govern, but you cannot govern without including and without consulting the people you are working on behalf of,” Monrose observed in an interview with St Lucia Times.
He described as “archaic thinking’ the type of governance that has “crept” into this country where a cabinet believes it is its sole responsibility to do as it pleases and pass whatever policy it deems necessary.
“You have to engage people because you don’t have a carte blanche arrangement where you do as you please,” the TUF President explained.
Monrose made reference to the proposed new Border Control Management Authority which would involve the amalgamation of several agencies, including the Customs and Excise Department.
He declared that the Customs Officers, as major stakeholders, should be the first to be consulted.
“You don’t take a position and then choose to consult them,” Monrose, who is also President of the Saint Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU), asserted.
He also pointed out that in making changes to the health sector, doctors, nurses and health care workers, as well as the public need to be consulted since health care is “public business.”
Monrose spoke ahead of a TUF executive meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
He disclosed that one of the agenda items is a review of this country’s industrial relations climate.
Monrose told St Lucia Times that in about one week’s time there will be a TUF general council meeting to review the situation and take positions required by the membership of the trade union group.
“The Trade Union Federation takes its position from the membership – nobody else, whether it is religious, political – no other entity will direct the Trade Union Federation because they will not direct the operations of the individual unions,” Monrose explained.
He recalled that the TUF is on record as articulating its opposition to the privatisation of social services, whether this relates to health, education or any such sector.
“Issues of health and education – these are public goods and it is the responsibility of the government to provide these,” the TUF President stated, adding that the private sector can exist side by side with the public sector since people must have choices.
“We believe that everybody is entitled to health care, everybody is entitled to quality education, particularly the poor people – they are entitled to have certain safety nets to protect them,” Monrose said.