General Secretary of the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU), Thomas Letang , is crying ‘victimization,’ saying the majority of those who took part in protest action at the Public Works Corporation (PWC) recently have been sent home by the board.
“The majority of people who were sent home, I think a hundred percent, are the people who have been protesting,” he said on Friday.
Letang is calling on all Dominicans to show solidarity with the workers by stopping work for one hour on Monday.
The matter will also be brought up and discussed on a regional level when the Caribbean Public Services Association (CPSA) conference convenes in Trinidad soon, he said.
Twenty workers from the PWC have been given walking papers for a period of six weeks beginning on July 1 and Letang said they had taken part in protests which have been ongoing at the institution for weeks now.
He referred to this as unfairness and “victimization”
“It is total victimization,” he said. “If these people have a conscience, I hope their conscience will trouble them, because what they are doing cannot be right. At a time when children on holidays, parents need that money to buy school books and uniforms for their children, the PWC has selected that time to send people home.”
He is calling on nationals to stand in solidarity with those affected by the actions at the PWC.
“We also decided that Monday 6th will be a day when people can show their solidarity and their support by stopping work for one hour,” he stated. “That is from 11 am to 12 noon.”
He said the union will ensure that business places that participate are patronized.
But this is not all.
“I will also be discussing with the executive the idea of bringing this matter to the regional scene,” he said, “That is when we meet at the Caribbean Public Services Association (CPSA) conference in Trinidad in two weeks’ time.”
He said the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and other members of the CPSA will be in attendance and the opportunity, on more than one occasion, has been utilized to put the matters affecting workers on the table.
The matters are addressed and resolutions are sent to the respective governments and “we have seen action,” Letang noted.
Letang remarked that he will also seek to discuss with the executive the launching of a ‘lifeline’ on behalf of the PWC employees.
“And by that I mean the possibility of engaging the private sector in some discussions where employees of the PWC, when doing business with the private sector business places, so they can get concessionary rates,” he explained.
He remarked that with the use of an identification card, the workers can enjoy reduced rates on goods.
PWC workers have been protesting for weeks, complaining of late salaries, non-payment of contribution to Social Security, poor working conditions and a host of other issues.
The protest was deemed illegal by the authorities, but Letang said he is “extremely happy and proud” of the employees for standing up.
The action is expected to last for another six weeks and beyond.
Letang said there are other activities that the union intends to undertake but has chosen to remain tight-lipped for the time being.
He informed that the decisions were taken at a recent meeting.