The President of the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) says after listening to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s budget address, he has come to the conclusion that it is attack on members of the trade union.
In a statement Wednesday, Cyprian Montrope also described the budget address as an attempt to undermine the solidarity of public service workers and their representative bodies.
The text of Montrope’s statement is reproduced below:
After listening to the budget address made by our Prime Minister, I have come to the conclusion that this is an attack on the members of the CSA, and an attempt by the government to undermine the solidarity of public service workers and their representative bodies.
During negotiations with the government of Saint Lucia the CSA made a request for duty free concessions for traveling officers working within the public service and who are required to use their personal vehicle to carry out the work of the state. The government flatly rejected it. Now we are hearing that selected government workers have been considered for duty free concessions albeit that more than 90% of these officers do not use their vehicles to do the work of the state.
We view this as being very discriminatory and unconscionable by the government and as an attempt to divide the workers who stood strong and united in the recent dispute with Government. We therefore wish to express profound dissatisfaction with this treatment of the CSA and its members, in particular those who use their personal vehicles to carry out their duties on behalf of the people of Saint Lucia.
The CSA does not oppose the concessions being granted to our colleagues in the Police, Fire, Nursing, Medical Services and therefore urge them to use this benefit wisely. We encourage them to remain in solidarity with the other public sectors unions and associations who have not benefited from these concessions especially the traveling officers of the state.
We would like to remind the government that it is not only those categorized as “essential service workers” who worked during the early outbreak of COVID-19. There were agricultural extension and Veterinary officers who assisted the farmers, there were Treasury, Customs and Inland Revenue officials who worked steadfastly to ensure government revenue was collected. There were many other workers in the various ministries who provided support to the front line workers and kept government functioning throughout the crisis.
The CSA is once again calling on the government to do the right thing. As Prime Minister, you proclaimed the importance of the Public Service workers during your statement on Public Services Day observed on June 23, 2020. We ask you to be true to your word and honour all the men and women who work tirelessly for the good of this country.