And while Bruce has had her matter resolved, the unions are still hoping for a resolution to the impasse with the Government. As a matter of fact, the joint unions are hoping that it may come to an end on Tuesday. A meeting is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, one day after the PSU’s notice of strike action comes to an end. Despite the scheduled meeting, the PSU will ramp up its strike action and is asking public officers to walk off their jobs tomorrow. But will it be successful and effective? That is what we asked PSU President Gerald Henry.
Gerald Henry, President, Public Service Union: “Services will be terminated in certain ministries, certain departments and the public will not be able to get certain services. I can’t disclose which departments that will take place. But um, compared to the go slow and work the rule, which you will still be provided with some degree of service although it may be a bit frustrating, when it comes to strike there is no service at all because there will be no one there to provide such service. And we have been learning that the government has been trying to employ temporary workers to fill those positions but I don’t know how it is that they are going to fill technical positions such as immigration staff when these people have to be properly trained on the processes that an immigration officer has to be aware of and has to do some training now. How will you then bring in people from the off the street who have absolutely no idea how to conduct the procedures and so on as it relates to immigration ? You may very well end up with persons going to jail and all kind of thing because they wouldn’t understand what they are doing. But we leave that up to the government to figure it out when the time comes.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: So, essentially the PSU is looking to cripple the government so to speak.
Gerald Henry, President, Public Service Union: “Well I wouldn’t put it quite like that. You know the whole purpose of strike action because it is the ultimate action it is to bring whichever party, you know, back to the table.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Could it be that tomorrow’s proposed strike action can be another counterproductive move because while you may be disrupting government’s services it will be affecting private citizens and the public who the unions don’t enjoy 100% of their support as yet.
Gerald Henry, President, Public Service Union: “I know that we don’t enjoy one on 100% support ,we’ll l probably never ever reach 100% support, not even amongst one members, but the hope is that we will enjoy enough of that support from those who understand that giving up or sacrificing a day or two for what we are doing is better than for us to suffer for three years.”
According to Henry, the government’s request to return to the negotiating table gives the joint unions the upper hand.
Gerald Henry, President, Public Service Union: “I am happy to know that the government has decided as quickly as of tomorrow afternoon to meet with us, you know, in an effort to, as they have said, to bring this impasse to an end. Now what points they will be moving off of that they were sticking to before in order for the impasse to end that I don’t know we’ll have to wait until tomorrow. But I’m happy that, you know, it seems as if though we will be ending this impasse sooner than later.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: What What gives you that hope or the expectation.
Gerald Henry, President, Public Service Union: “The speed with which the government has invited us back to the table and the fact that according to them in the correspondence that we received, the invitation that we received, that it is in order for us to end the impasse. And in order for the impasse to end it’s in their part of the of the court, the ball is on their half. And so when they reach out to us then it gives us some hope that indeed they are willing to to end the impasse. And so what I would want to ask public officers to do is to understand that right now it appears that we have the upper hand. The government understands how difficult it to would be for public officers to strike in mass and for them to come out just one day just to solidify our position that we are the ones who actually run this government. We are 14,000 strong compared to only 31 members of the government. Certainly they can’t replace all 14,000 of us or even half that amount. So they need to come out and just make their voice be heard one day and I believe that we could get the government to negotiate with us now, compared to just the issue of consultation that they were doing before.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: How sure are you sure that you will have 14,000 public officers working out tomorrow ?
Gerald Henry, President, Public Service Union: “Well I’m quite sure – you know I’m not a betting man but I’d wager all my salary that we won’t simply because of the nature of the human being and the fact that people have their personal biases and so on which is all respect due to them for that. However we are hoping that, you know, enough public officers would understand like I said that this has absolutely nothing to do with any bias except to say that we are working on behalf of all of our public officers including those who don’t want to take to the streets because of their political views, support for the present administration because there will be 10% as well. So we are fighting for even their 10%. that they seem don’t want to defend for themselves.”