General Secretary of the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) Thomas Letang has said that his union has shown patience and tolerance at the disrespect meted out to the union by government and that patience is running out.
Letang was addressing hundreds of public officers on April 11, 2019 on grievances affecting public officers. “What you see today is the beginning of things to come because we are going all out to get what we want and what is due to us. Nothing is going to keep us back and prevent us from going forward,” Letang said to cheering public officers.
According to Letang, government has not even responded to their letter sent in December 2018 and a follow up in January 2019.
He pointed to many shortfalls in the system which are frustrating his union.
“We have situations where boards have not been appointed, the Dominica Air & Seaport Authority (DASPA) is without a board and therefore our latest proposal to DASPA can’t be approved. No board in place also at the Solid Waste Management Corporation, Letang stated. “We have applied for recognition for the staff at Discover Dominica, two years now and nothing is being done; total disrespect to the union. At the Public Workers Corporation, after ten years, no salary increases.”
He continued, “In the public service, persons in acting positions for ten years and are yet to be appointed, total injustice. Today, our prime minister thinks he can play on the minds of the people calling our junior clerks to a meeting…wheel and and come again Prime Minister,” Letang remarked. ” You calling junior clerks and telling them you going to build headquarters on high street…you out of place. You have them not able to go to the bank to negotiate for a loan.”
The DPSU Official advised public officers that “the next time the Prime Minister calls you to a meeting you either seat at your desk or call in sick because the Prime Minister has absolutely no right to discuss conditions of employment with employees; the union is the only one so entitled.”
He added, “You disrespecting the union. I heard role call was taken, but let me send a clear message. If one person who did not attend the meeting is touched, is action. We closing down the whole dam country and I mean it.”
Letang said that victimization is real in the public service and must stop and accused the authorities of violating the basic rules in the public service.
“We shall continue our protest actions until all public officials working in vacant positions for at least two years are appointed…among others including the nurses, teachers who are in vacant positions for years are appointed,” a Letang asserted. “When we speak on your behalf and are being victimized, we will protest. No salary revision, no negotiation, protest…Public Works Corporation, we are with you. Politicians must not manage the Public Service we have to stop that, we will protest to end victimization.”
He also called on Public Officers to wear yellow or orange to work as a form of solidarity effective Friday April 19, 2019 until their demands are met.
“You have nothing to fear, now is the time to hold people by their balls and we are not going to kiss anybody’s donkey we request and demand what is due to us. When you go to work and are dressed in yellow or orange and they ask you to leave, don’t. Let them call the police to put you out,” the DPSU General Secretary instructed his members.
He had more instructions for the public officers.
“I want you to also go to work at 8 am and when it’s 10 am, you stop work and go out for half an hour. You go back to work for another two hours and go out for half an hour and you do that every day until the next rally, Letang further directed.
He said more decisions will be taken at the next rally.
“If we have another rally and no action, it will be S-T-R-I-K-E. I did not say strike; I spelt a word to you,” Letang stated.