Letang (left), Gregoire

General Secretary of the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU), Thomas Letang is describing statements made by former Cabinet Secretary and Dominica’s current Ambassador to the OECS, Felix Gregoire, as ‘extremely childish.’

He made that remark during a live interview on the Hot Seat Programme aired on Q-95 on Thursday morning.

At a town hall meeting in Pointe Michel on Wednesday Gregoire warned public officers that there are a lot of people who have no interest in the public service and public officers, so they must be aware of what is going on.

“They will use the public service but they have no interest in the public service,” Gregoire stated. “So public officers what I am saying here is for you, public officers be aware of what is going to happen.”

The DPSU will be hosting a rally for public officers on Thursday and Gregoire stated that “law breakers” will show up at the event.

“There are law breakers who will end up at the meeting; they have shown us they are law breakers,” he stated. “I am not lying. So if you leave your common sense at your home and you follow law breakers, that is your business. The laws are there and I always advise people before they act, check the law to see what the law says.”

Gregoire also stated that things like salary negotiations take time.

“They will start high but you will start low because you know what you have and what you don’t have,” he stated. “That is what negotiation is all about, it is not fighting, it is sitting down and discussing: you come you make a proposal, they make a proposal, they go and they talk, you come and you talk as well, you get back together. So these things take a long time and don’t let people fool you, negotiations take a long time, they always took a long time.”

But Letang said Gregoire’s statements are immature since the rally is not going to be about salary negotiations alone.

“This is a very childish, immature and stupid statement,” Letang stressed. “He is my good friend but I am surprised at that statement. The point I am trying to make is that this rally was not organized just to discuss salary negotiation or because of salary negotiation. For Mr. Gregoire to be out there saying this, he is definitely misleading the people.”

Letang explained that in December 2015, in his capacity as General Secretary he was very concerned about the lack of togetherness and solidarity among public officers and in December 2016 the union agreed that they needed to plan a solidarity rally.

“We needed to have a solidarity rally where we can bring employees; we can bring our members together to try to let them understand that there is the need for solidarity and for unity,” he stated.

He revealed that the proposal was made at an executive meeting, “and it went down very well.”

“On the 14th of December we prepared a concept document on that, everything was approved by the executive,” Letang said. “That had absolutely nothing to do with negotiation and from that time the date was set to have the rally on the 16th of March.”

He went on to say that a lot of developments have taken place since, including meetings with the government and two negotiation sessions.

“Naturally my friends if you are going to have a meeting of that nature with your members the status of salary negotiations will be on the agenda,” he remarked.

Letang made it clear that the union has not invited anybody in a personal capacity, or individually, to attend the rally.

“What we have done is that we have extended an invitation to the general public,” Letang explained.