Thomas Letang

The general membership of the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) has flatly rejected government’s offer of 1% salary increase and passed a resolution giving the government until December 14 to conclude wage and salary negotiations with them.

“Members have rejected government offer and they have moved a resolution mandating the executive to guide them in taking any action that is necessary to demonstrate their rejection of the offer and their dissatisfaction of the offer,” Thomas Letang, General Secretary of the DPSU, said.

He also said government was given until December 14 to wrap up the negotiations with the union. “The resolution that was tabled has given us up to the 14 of December by which time negotiations should be concluded amicably,” he pointed out.

Letang had earlier told DPSU members that the meeting was “the most important general membership meeting ever” which he said, would decide the way forward. “This will decide if we as public officers are serious and willing to stand up, won’t be taken for a ride and we are not party before pockets (PBP),” Letang stated.

The DPSU boss called on the public officers to stand up for what they believe. “We have to demonstrate to government that we are not only public officers but are citizens of this country….the country can afford more than 1% salary and you have to be prepared to stand up and fight for that,” he told them.

He warned them about being “intimidated” and called on them to “stay together, be united as a unit.”

In his address to the gathering, DPSU President Steve Joseph pointed out that while the cost of living in Dominica continues to increase, the wages and salaries of public officers remain static.

“The cost of living continues to increase…..the government has been unreasonable while we, as the DPSU, have been fair, reasonable and patient that is why we did not call you out before,” he said.

Joseph called on members to  be “meticulous and calculated in our decisions and wipe out all emotions as we decide how we move forward.”

Three years ago the DPSU was able to secure a 3 percent salary increase for its members and according to Letang the organization is now being told that “things are much worse than it was then”. The DPSU and government have been locked in negotiation for the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 period.

DPSU General Secretary, Letang, has always complained that the offer tabled by the government was “far from attractive” and had said prior to Wednesday’s meeting that “enough was enough.”

Rumors were rife that drastic measures such as industrial action would result from the meeting but this suggestion was shrugged off by Letang after the meeting on Wednesday. “We will write to the government and tell them what took place at the meeting and take it from there,” he said.

Meanwhile, the police have also rejected the government’s offer of 1%. The  Police Welfare Association has  called its membership to a meeting and its chairman, Jefferson Drigo, has stated that their decision not to accept the offer, saying that government needs to come much better.

A section of the audience at Wednesday’s DPSU’s meeting