Astaphan surprised at Letang’s “aggressive approach” in salary negotiations

Astaphan (left), Letang

Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan is expressing his surprise at what he refers to as the ‘continuous aggressive confrontational approach’ by the General Secretary of the Public Service Union Thomas Letang towards the Government regarding payment of salaries to public officers.

In it’s latest round of negotiations with the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU), the government has offered a wage freeze for the 2015-2018 triennium, something the union has refused to accept.

The Union instead is demanding that the government finds the money to pay the salary increases as well as to facilitate improved working conditions for public officers.

Letang has gone as far as telling the Government to use the money from the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme to pay public officers’ salaries.

But Astaphan told Kairi FM’s Heng Program on Wednesday that Letang seems to have forgotten what happened in the early 2000’s when the Government had to take a decision under the restructured program that they had with the International Monetary Fund.

“And you will remember that when the Government pass the legislation about the temporary reduction of salary and the other measures, the Union hired a Senior Counsel from Trinidad, Ramesh Maharaj QC, fought the matter in court, the claimant was then the Vice President or the President Miss Sonia Williams, and both the High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled that Government’s obligation to pay civil servants is based on the ability of Government to pay,” Astaphan said.

Astaphan stated that as a result of this ruling neither the Union nor the court can compel a Government to pay monies under a collective agreement or arrangement with public servants if it cannot afford to pay it.

Astaphan also weighed in on Letang’s statements that the Union is willing to meet with the government to discuss various issues, particularly salary negotiations, but it must be done under certain conditions.

“What Mr Letang does not want is for the Government to provide facts in his presence about the state of the country’s recurrent expenditure and revenues because he must know that that information is not what he wants to hear,” Astaphan stated.

The Senior Counsel is also of the view that Letang is twisting it to suggest that if he goes to the meeting there will be no further negotiations.

But according to Astaphan that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

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53 Comments

  1. rasta
    April 8, 2017

    National Budget of 2015-2016 Skerrit boast of the economy doing so well and so much so that he is calling all dominicans leaving oversees to return because of so many jobs available. Over the past three weeks the Government is going all over the country giving millions of dollars, building homes , giving money. Is that an economy doing so badly or is it poor management of our limited resource, or simply catch a vote politics. The 2014 elections the Government said that it cannot give an increase and after the UWP made a proposals Skerrit jump and say he will give an increase because friendly governments are willing to assist. Although I found this to be so stupid since with Government would commit to pay civil servants from another country an amount of money for life? Finally if there is so much money “throwing out”it is only reasonable that public servants get theirs. Dominicans wake up the SHIP IS SINKING.

  2. Look in
    April 8, 2017

    Mr. Astaphan, if the country’s recurrent expenditure is so bad; then the gov’t needs to go back to the drawing board to make a few changes. Here are some money saving tips from a dunce cat.
    1) Cut down on the size of Cabinet; UWP has been advising that for some time
    2) Cut down on the number of advices- PM Skerrit has been governing for 17 years, if he doesn’t know how to rule without all these advisers by now; he should vacate office.
    3) dismantle all boards and put quasi-gov’t heads directly under the PS and ministers of their respective ministries- boards are expensive and ineffective
    4) pump more money into revitalizing agriculture; we have water and soil, not sun, sea and sand
    5) Put competent people to run all gov’t institutions and not party supporters, their incompetence is causing more waste

  3. 000 percent
    April 7, 2017

    You don’t have to negotiate, you just send your bill and get paid hundreds of thousands of Dollars, so please allow poor people to negotiate for a decent salary. please stay out of poor people thing!!!!!!

  4. April 7, 2017

    almost one year they comfirm help for my study . we are almost half the year and no finacial help. empty promises all the way. what a shame. and with the CBI money not even a little help one can get man.

    pay civil servant especially health personnel more money.
    health workers doctors, nurses are working so hard…………. and all they get is zero percent

  5. Shaka Zulu
    April 7, 2017

    “What Mr Letang does not want is for the Government to provide facts in his presence about the state of the country’s recurrent expenditure and revenues because he must know that that information is not what he wants to hear,” Astaphan stated. Astaphan thinks he can come and intimidate people. What is stated above is the business of. The people of Dominica, hence the government should bring out the facts. We all want to see them for once and not the lies. Is Mr. Astaphan hinting that the country is doing bad and cannot afford to give raises? Mr. Astaphans if 17 years ago DPSU took Gov to court and government won because they could not give raises and today it’s the same situation then this labour party gov is a failure by your admission. Why is it every time skerrit is in some crap this guy comes out to speak? A man only needs a lawyer if he is trying not to go jail from criminal activity. I guess PSU should do nothing? Dominicans are really treated as fools.

  6. Tj
    April 7, 2017

    I have been asking about this minister without without portfolio call tony is a mystery.

  7. April 6, 2017

    Is CBI moneye’s still on a hold by Bank of America??

  8. Roseau River
    April 6, 2017

    Bottom line…show me the money

  9. CIA Agent
    April 6, 2017

    Slave-owners also accused emancipationsts and freedom-fighters of using the ‘continuous aggressive confrontational approach’.

  10. April 6, 2017

    Dominicans let Anthony Astaphan know that you really don’t care what he has to say about the affairs on the Island, he’s a voice blowing in the wind and you should not listen to what he has to say or read his comments for he doesn’t care about you, so it’s about time the shoes is on the other foot stand up to him and his Boss.
    Anthony Astaphan you got to go.

  11. Haven of International Criminals
    April 6, 2017

    If I owned a media house or a press I would make it company policy not to publish anything this Astaphan says. He does not help or contribute to any positive conversation on island and this man is just a disgrace. I cannot understand why they not publishing what Pappy saying instead of the coshonee of this guy.

  12. “Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan is expressing his surprise at what he refers to as the ‘continuous aggressive confrontational approach’ by the General Secretary of the Public Service Union Thomas Letang towards the Government regarding payment of salaries to public officers.”

    SC; if you are surprise about that, you will not be surprised when I tell you it is snowing in Wesley right now, and it is going to snow all over Dominica, and Los Angeles at the same time tomorrow!

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

  13. papa
    April 6, 2017

    Who is pm of da tony

  14. Awa
    April 6, 2017

    OMG!! What is Astaphan doing in negotiations? Are you a minister? I though you were a lawyer to the PM. You need to stay out of this!!

  15. UDOHREADYET
    April 6, 2017

    these guys these guys just don’t now how things work.
    one minute you against CBI the next you want agriculture, now you want to use money for developing the island to pay you salary.
    allu lucky the prime minister is a economics major.
    Letang the government cannot base civil servant salary on passport sales or banana sales.

    • Old Fool
      April 7, 2017

      Emty barrels makes the most noise. ECONOMICS MAJOR???? Which university did he get it from? I thought one time he was a history major then I heard the next time that he was an English major. Make up your mind as to what he is. And be careful to not go to him for your brain surgery when he claims that he is a brain surgeon. Heaven help us all.

    • concern citizen
      April 8, 2017

      U know very well your Govt. can’t meet that payment after 17yrs. so Just do the honourable thing, get out from there and let those that can do it do it

  16. Tete negg
    April 6, 2017

    Lord help us wit dem bofass

  17. Ceci
    April 6, 2017

    Tony is right! The courts cannot force the government to pay neither can the union! But the public officers who make up the union can do it!!! But they have to think of their bread and butter first! Let them pull a strike like the one President Sevarin taught the populace to do back in the days. The courts and the Union shall see who really in charge!

  18. CIA Agent
    April 6, 2017

    Sc. Tony is the expert on ‘continuous aggressive confrontational approach’ and Mr. Letang is treading on the Tiger’s tail.

  19. Are you for real
    April 6, 2017

    Really
    How else should it be ? are you for real.
    People need better wages , how else can they buy that old corn beef on the shelves.
    Hmm.
    The whole damn country needs to get aggressive for better pay, the entire paygrading should be scrapped and organized to fit modern lifestyles.
    Get a grip man.

  20. Flipside
    April 6, 2017

    Tony is so right. Whoever heard of a government, or prime minister, just splashing money around willy nilly ? That just doesn’t make economic sense at all. Silly Mr Letang ! CBI money indeed ! We are all assured by the fact that our PM doesn’t spend what he hasn’t got or make empty promises to us, the electorate. He treats us with respect and intelligence. Sensible finances, is what it is. Lucky our PM is also the Finance Minister eh ? What are the chances ?! Awesome !

  21. %
    April 6, 2017

    Whenever this man that nobody voted for comments on an issue on behalf of Skerrits corrupt government, MY RESPOINSE IS TO TELL HIM “”””” Go dump YOUR cesspit of filth at LA BASS, ie THE LANDFILL
    Letang will not answer to your balderdash. You are the prime apologist for a regime, that has befriended like MONMFARED, CORALLO, LAPSENG, MADUEKE,,so you have no moral authority to tell Letang what to do..

  22. Home again
    April 6, 2017

    Mr Toni Toni Toni, listen man, you should be surprised at Skerritt town hall Parliament and mobile Red clinic. You should not be surprised at Mr letang’s action because the present president did worst than that in the 1970’s.
    Go and ask the president, how to prevent civil servants from protesting n he will tell you… Toniiii the people of the nashun want more money.. Make a long story. Increase their salaries.
    On a side, Bro Toni, are you surprise about those Diplomats who are charged for all kinds of crimes against their various states?
    It’s a surprise Toni is still blah blah blah in.

  23. Frank Talker
    April 6, 2017

    The SC is not part of the bargaining process between Government and DPSU, so what is this nonsense about him being “surprised” at Letang’s approach? These utterances by Tony should not make the news at all. It’s like me saying that I am “surprised” by Trump’s utterances following the death of civilians in Syria. Who is me to be “surprised” at this? I am not a player in the game. De senior cunt should rather be surprised that a confessed DLP advocate just resigned his job as CEO at PWC.

  24. inyourface
    April 6, 2017

    Anthony Astaphan, you not one of us.

    And you are extremely successful and wealthy, you do not know what it is like to have a small paycheck, so shut up! do not involve yourself in this matter sir!

  25. dressing like freaks and they call it fleek
    April 6, 2017

    surprised that Letang is not as dumb as he looks?

  26. April 6, 2017

    Firstly, this is highly politicized, and two, he is rather unscrupulous in word and action. I don’t understand Thomas Letang and his ridiculous approach to this negotiation talk.

  27. Just Thinking
    April 6, 2017

    When the Dominican “Sean Spicer” speaks can anyone take him serious or believe anything he says? By the way what has become of the position of Press Secretary of the government? I cannot recall any appointment by government making Tony press Secretary, yet he has become government’s spokesman on every and any issue. So government can find money to do everything else but it cannot find money to pay the civil servants- the very machinery that keeps the government working?

  28. Shaka Zulu
    April 6, 2017

    “What Mr Letang does not want is for the Government to provide facts in his presence about the state of the country’s recurrent expenditure and revenues because he must know that that information is not what he wants to hear,” Astaphan stated. Astaphan thinks he can come and intimidate people. What is stated above is the business of. The people of Dominica, hence the government should bring out the facts. We all want to see them for once and not the lies. Is Mr. Astaphan hinting that the country is doing bad and cannot afford to give raises? Mr. Astaphans if 17 years ago DPSU took Gov to court and government won because they could not give raises and today it’s the same situation then this labour party gov is a failure by your admission. Why is it every time skerrit is in some crap this guy comes out to speak? A man only needs a lawyer if he is trying not to go jail from criminal activity. I guess PSU should do nothing? Dominicans are really treated as fools.

  29. April 6, 2017

    For years, Letang has been at the helm of the DPSU playing partisan politics. He is avoiding the discussion the unions were invited to with the government because he is afraid he’ll get schooled in front everyone.

  30. FORKIT
    April 6, 2017

    so tony if letang dont want to know just how bad the economy is why is he spreading like wide fire?> BOY ALLU LOOKING FOR TROUBLE….

  31. FORKIT
    April 6, 2017

    tony is just trying to frighten those civil servants that strive for eight days like myself, but tony i hope you can duck fast

  32. April 6, 2017

    You’re surprised? I’m not!

  33. Man bite dogs
    April 6, 2017

    It is a nice sunny day in Roseau Dominica seating at a bar having a cold kubuli beer ,and having to Read all that dogs crap so-called workers supporters keeps on writing on Dno and Facebook makes me feels sorry and how sad this people really are.

  34. Cee Bee Eye
    April 6, 2017

    Tony, Tony, Tony ….

    … the real surprise or should I say shock will come when Astaphans staff vote to be represented by the PSU. Then you will see aggressive …

  35. Fake News
    April 6, 2017

    I’m not commenting on what this guy says I didn’t vote for him. Hell with him

    • NUWPl
      April 6, 2017

      And did you vote for labour? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO YOU DIDNT. So wat is you point? U and lay-Tass both voted for the same party I am sure of dat. So if anyone has to go to hell it would be u and your MINORITY SUPPORT IN THE UNION. Because most of the union members are not supporting you and the union.
      But I will say public will get an increase in pay but not wat it proposed by this fake Thomas who is definitely doing this for other reasons. He has to put his hand in his mouth and swallow what he gets. Dam up.

      • concern citizen
        April 8, 2017

        Dear NUWPI
        Thanks for UR. comments I love it, That’s why I said that D/ca is locked in reverse gear and some bad Samaritan has throw away the KEYS
        The LABOUR Party is so, so corrupt they stink corruption and hear the scoundrel comments that is being spud out of your mouth
        It would a pear that u forgot what took place in December of 2010 at St. Aromant with the 2 elderly citizens, corruption by your party should remain undetected so life goes on, take it easy my fellow citizen time well tell, cause who LAUGH last LAUGH the best

  36. Fun&Frolic
    April 6, 2017

    Mr. Senior Counsel, not everyone has a gazillion dollars at their disposal like you do. For people living paycheck to paycheck, where each and every month is a struggle for survival, It has become NECESSARY that we get aggressive with our paymasters to get our just compensation, because it is way overdue. The bills need to get paid and our children need to be fed. That is our reality, but you wont understand that because you have never walked a second in our shoes. Enjoy your golden spoon and please allow us to seek our loaf of bread in peace.

    • Dominican West Indian
      April 6, 2017

      Wish I could give you more than just one ?

  37. kellye
    April 6, 2017

    Wait- who elected this joker and who gave him permission to run the affairs 0f the people of Dominica? – the so called lawyer? I am not sure but Skerrit may have political power but this joker has other wise power—this is madness. It appears that he cannot be stopped.

    • dee
      April 6, 2017

      Well look de big eyes minister now say they have money and it appears plenty of it.
      so how come dat Mafia saying no money , who lying ? both of them ?.

      • April 6, 2017

        Everytime Tony speaks the blue people get nervous, just read the crazy comments. What Astaphan is saying makes sense, Mr. Letang is much too hostile and confrontational. Letang and the antigovernment operatives wants to create a situation where Government may be forced to increase taxes to meet their demands. Once taxes are increased the opposition will have new ammunition to go after the Government, very selfish approach.

  38. viewsexpressed
    April 6, 2017

    You all master mind all kind of CBI passport scheme and now you telling us Dominicans about 0% 0% 0%. Astaphan, please shut up and get lost. … as a matter of fact, go to hell…go to hell….go to hell. Take Skerrit with you. You want to compare the IMF decent money with the questionable CBI money, under this government and its questionable Leader. Are you serious and you protecting someone?-

  39. lightbulb
    April 6, 2017

    Letang forget what happened with Perro??
    Not even history, just yesterday dat happen.
    But on anodder note.
    It is concerning that from de time Perro sacrificed his health and ultimately himself
    the country is not on firmer standing

  40. LifeandDeath
    April 6, 2017

    Yes Astaphan, soon that money well will dry up for you..so continue parlez still..I bet you’ll stay in Maimi when Skerrit falls..

  41. `Me
    April 6, 2017

    What has this got to do with Anthony Astaphan? He is well advised to keep his nose out of it.

  42. Looking
    April 6, 2017

    I am flabbergasted! Our honorable PM told us the economy is doing well. If Monies are being spent all over the country from CBI funds then give us civil servants a raise too. BTW so far in all those town hall meetings, did the Kalinago Territory receive anything for road repairs? Please enlighten me

  43. truth ,no lie
    April 6, 2017

    astaphans .. Shut up ,Dominicans do not need to hear you, The prime minister just indicated that all the other countries in the Caribbean is suffering one way or another , and its only dominica that is surviving well , Now you astaphans want to come and tell us about economy is not doing well? Boy stop it , You not hearing how muck money that passing? Moneys bowling all over 5,10 15 20 thousands, People getting money they don’t even know why, They confused, They just in bars making drinks for every body that enters in there, Oh my God ,Where is the future for our children? Skeritt, Skeritt Skeritt ,Ah boy

  44. zandoli
    April 6, 2017

    So Tony, are you saying that the government is broke? The way they are going around spreading money all over the island, one gets the impression they are anything but broke.

    How can they argue there is no money to pay civil servants when these same civil servants see government ministers and their girlfriends building massive houses all over the island?

    Optics matter.

  45. Not a herd follower
    April 6, 2017

    Tony, what your problem? You can speak for the government you own. Why can’t Mr. Letang speak for his constituents? Unlike you, he has a legitimate constituency. You and the government boast of how well the economy is doing. The Ministers spend their time distributing monies in the communities as if money is going out of style, monies which are given not in exchange for productive services. Yet, you all have the gall to demand that the public officers accept a wage freeze.

  46. Cee Bee Eye
    April 6, 2017

    Huh? Tony?

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