The APSSM is the only union yet to give a definitive vote from its membership when it comes to salary cuts. That outcome is imminent, however, as the three unions are expected to meet in the coming days to issue a joint response to the government by Monday. In a release issued by the BNTU, a seven-point plan of action was released which includes a poll among its members, a candlelight vigil, and a press conference on March 26. President Smith noted that arrangements are being made for simultaneous motorcades countrywide.
Elena Smith, President, BNTU: “A motorcade is being planned, a national motorcade. As we said we do things as an entire union so all ten branches together so whenever we act that is how we act so that’s coming out. Press conference coming up as well and then after that when we get back from government after the Cabinet meets on the 16th and we hear from them then we are going to be going back to our members again doing another poll again and getting some more information from them and then that will be presented in that press conference that we will have which would be possibly by then our updated position at that time and depending on how it goes we go into our Easter break and then after that then schools should reopen on the 12th and then we go from there we plan more activities after that.”
On the part of the Public Service Union (PSU), a release was also issued today stating, in part, quote, “As we get ready to present our formal response and counter proposals to Government, the PSU hereby calls on all public officers to show solidarity with the union by wearing yellow commencing Friday, March 12 and every other Friday until we are satisfied that Government is serious about implementing our recommendations for revenue enhancement and cost savings to ensure that we participate collectively in the recovery plan of our country, and the reform of the public service.” End of quote. PSU’s Vice President Flowers spoke to Love News on the union’s way forward after a majority vote against the salary cut.
Dean Flowers, First Vice President, PSU: “The government side has also remained steadfast in their position that based on their own projections that the $80 million dollars that was factored into their projections cannot be taken out and I think that they have said that more assertively or they said that more assertively yesterday that there’s no going back from that position or with that number and I think that the Prime Minister’s comment yesterday as well signals that the government seems to have made up their minds from day one, even though we believe and we will give the Deputy Prime Minister and his team the benefit of the doubt that in earnest when they came to us it wasn’t a done deal, but I think yesterday they kind of suggested that in fact from a government perspective it may be their position and a position which it appears that they may not be prepared to back down from.”
Renee Trujillo, Love FM News: How far is the union willing to go? What if the government comes and says you know what we respect the fact that the unions or that the public officers don’t want this cut but it’s something that we have to proceed with and we are going to proceed with it.
Dean Flowers, First Vice President, PSU: “That’s not necessarily a question that I am able to respond to. As an executive I can only speak for the mandate given to me by the members and I can say that currently the members are rejecting the proposal in its form and if the government was to ignore their rejection of that proposal well then it is from membership again to inform us what the way forward is and I can say that that is part of the reason why I think that you’re seeing the organizing, the solidarity call from all unions and you’ll see that leading up until the government’s decision and subsequent reading of the budget.