Trade unionist urges teachers to elect robust executive

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – As teachers this week elect a new executive to lead their union, one member is calling on them to vote for people who are not afraid to go head to head with the government.

Hugh Wyllie, outgoing industrial relations officer at the Union, said on radio yesterday that the Union must return to its non-partisan position.

“… if they want our Union to return to its former glory, … its traditional role in defending members, I am asking teachers to support Oswald Robinson as president and Hugh Wyllie as second vice-president so that we have men and women in the executive who are not afraid to stand up and defend teachers,” Wyllie said.

He said that it is important that such an executive be elected.

“The Teachers’ Union has paid an important role over the years in shaping certain things and it has to return to that position. Because, a lot of the things that are happening now are happening because the Teachers’ Union, among the other unions, has capitulated, has become wings of the ULP and we need to return to our former non-partisan, independent position.

“So, I want to appeal to the teachers who have consciences to support a president and vice president who will stand up, at all times, in the interest of teachers,” Wyllie said.

Teachers are among civil servants who agreed with the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party (ULP) government to wait until June to see if the nation’s fiscal situation will allow for the payment of salary increases due since January 2011.

The Union last December negotiated with the government a new collective agreement to replace the 2005 one. The 2005 agreement contained an “aspirational” clause that saw four teachers being forced to resign their jobs before contesting elections in December 2010.

Three of the teachers, who ran on behalf of the opposition New Democratic Party, were not rehired after losing in the election.

Meanwhile Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, who was a guest on the radio programme yesterday, reiterated his party’s objection to the National Economic Social Development Council (NESDEC).

NESDEC, which was established in 2003, comprises representatives from government, civil society and the community to address social and economic issues.

Eustace said that Unions should not be part of the organisation.

“Unions cannot sit down with a government, be involved in policy discussion and take decisions and then defend their members outside,” he said as he reiterated that an NDP’s government would abolish NESDEC.

“If you sit down as part of NESDEC and discuss policies on wages and salaries, … you cannot go back and tell your members outside they must ask for a salary increase. … They (unions) are part of the government, they are setting policy with the government and policy is not always in the interest of people …. The government has its objectives of staying in power for as long as [possible].”

Eustace further said that because of arrangements like NESDEC, many citizens are not in a position to speak out against the government.

“Because they are part of the decision process by the government in a lot of areas which are discussed with them. So how are going to represent people after that?” he said.

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12 thoughts on “Trade unionist urges teachers to elect robust executive

  1. Did the Union sell their members down the river, having chosen to support the ULP Maxist regime in preference to its polically mixed party members.

    The Union should sue all those that knowingly entered into a contract that was unconstituional and unenforcable.

    The police should investigate if a conspriacy took place during or before the signing of that contract. Didn’t Gonsalves recently say that all who signed the contract were aware that is was unconstituional and therefore unenforcable? Didn’t Gonsalves also sign the agreement?

    This matter has brought local, regional and international disgrace on all involved.

    Posted by Peter | February 21, 2012, 10:11
  2. Everything leads to Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace. Pay attention Kenton!

    Posted by offTark | February 21, 2012, 11:53
  3. Peter my good pal Vincy powa IDIOT has NOT come forward to represent this issue with the teachers. ‘IS IT NOT THE TEACHERS WORKING UNDER GONSALVES POWERS’, VINCY POWA?. WHAT IS YOUR VIEWS ON THE TEACHERS’ BACK PAY FROM YOUR IDOL. Also,I believe that if a man wants to run for parliamentary representative he should not be force to quit his job until he actually won his seat. That man should return to work if he didn’t win the SEAT. If the constitution approves that the man must quit his job before he wins the seat or after he looses the seat, it is still wrong,it is not democratic, it strips a man his freedom to be ‘what he wants to be in a democratic nation’,SO IT WILL BE STILL UNCONSTITUTIONAL TO DO SO. WHAT IS YOUR VIEWS ON THAT VINCYPOWA BOY?.Further more, didn’t some one who run for ULP and didn’t won was able to get back a job in the Govt? WOULD YOU SAY IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL FOR GOVT TO DO THESE THINGS IF THE CONSTITUTION “DIDN’T STATE A CLAUSE TO PREVENT GOVT FROM THIS SORT OF ACTION- ACTION that is unfair,unjust unequal in a democracy environment “. COME ON BOY SPEAK, YOU HAVE A BIG RAMBLING MOUTH. TELL ME MORE ABOUT how CONSTITUTION works in a democratic nation.

    Posted by Prof-Dasilva | February 22, 2012, 02:27
  4. Peter are you really saying that Gonsalves is aware that a document is unconstitutional and still signs it althought he knows that it canot be enforced? Yet ONE OF GONSALVES FOOLS VINCY POWA WANTS TO TALKS ABOUT what is CONSTITUTIONAL from what is not CONSTITUTIONAL and the poor FELLA cannot even recognize how and when the word democracy is applied. Hope vincy don’t have to much more like this guy.

    Posted by Prof-Dasilva | February 22, 2012, 02:46
  5. I hope that teachers will not be so stupid to reelect Ronald Clerke as president of the svtu. Clerke is an agent of the ULP.

    Posted by junko | February 22, 2012, 08:44
  6. Prof, this is fact. Gonsalves is a lawyer trained among other things in constitutional law and also contractoral law.

    He considers himself a top class lawyer and as such you can be sure he would never sign anything without reading and understanding it. His signature appears on the contract in question.

    In 2005 a new contract was negotiated with the teachers union. Part of that contract say that teachers who wish to have leave to fight in a general election will be able to get their jobs back after the elections if they were unsucessful in being elected. Apparently that action is deemed to be unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable. A number of teachers who followed the terms of their agreement with government, and fought the election, then are refused to get their jobs reinstated.

    Gonsalves has stated that everyone that signed the contract knew that it was unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable. His name is on that contract and therefore he is saying that he and others knew that it was unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.

    If everyone who signed the contract new it was unconstutional and unenforcable, then for them to know they must have discussed it being so, among themselves. If that is so and no one told the union membership, a conspiracy took place between more than one person who signed the contract.

    Gonsalves tells lies, he has told us the public so in his own words and with his own tongue, not something that I am saying, something that he himself told us. Therefore did everyone who signed the document know it was unconstitutional and unenforcable, or was it only him that knew, adding the others to take the heat off himself.

    I suppose if a man is a liar in word he is almost certainly a liar by the written word.

    Remember Gonsalves also at a different time told us “show me a liar and I will show you a thief”, does that make him now a self confessed liar and a thief?

    I think this should be a police matter and an investigation take place, I am sure that will never happen, would the DPP allow such a case that includes Gonsalves?

    The teachers union members should take advice and sue someone. They have been shafted by those who they put their trust in, perhaps their Union and the Government.

    If the Union have been lied on by Gonsalves, then they should take legal action to clear their name and the names of their officers who signed the contract.

    This is a very serious matter and should not be forgotten or forgiven, it has ruined the lives of several good class teachers, along with the loss of their pensions etc.



    Posted by Peter | February 22, 2012, 21:08
  7. Teachers the problem you all have is that the Union leaders have their heads so far up Gonsalves ar.s that you are not getting the right representation that you should expect and get from them.

    They should forget the ULP, forget Marxist brotherhood and all that stuff and look after you the membership.

    Posted by Peter | February 22, 2012, 21:16
  8. While I agree that the unions should be as independent as possible and not be too cozy with any ruling administration, I disagree with Mr Eustace’s opposition to NESDEC. Every citizen and organisation (including the unions and, I dare say, the opposition) should have a voice in policy-making. Given Mr Eustace’s comments, I no longer wonder why the opposition MPs (Members of Parliament) leave Parliament when important policy discussions are taking place; I consider such behaviour as irresponsible representation of the people who voted for them.

    Posted by HONESTY | February 23, 2012, 15:36
  9. Honesty how about the dishonesty, what have you got to say about that?

    Please put the other stuff to one side for the moment, lets have your view on the dishonesty.

    Posted by Peter | February 24, 2012, 06:40
  10. I think that the situation with respect to an unconstitutional (and hence unenforceable) clause in the previous agreement is unfortunate. However, I cannot say that it was written as a deliberate ploy to mislead the teachers.

    Posted by HONESTY | February 24, 2012, 10:26
  11. Honesty if all or any of the signatories knew that the agreement was unconstitutional and unenforceable, yet never told the teachers, in fact withheld that information, is that not dishonest.

    When a minister [a signatory] went public at the time of signing and told the teachers that they now had an agreement that exceeeded anything that they had before, yet withheld that the agreement was unconstitutional and therefore unenforcable, is that an honest act.

    We know that at least one person knew it was unconstituional and unenforcaeable, because he told us so. His name is Gonsalves.

    Honesty, stop pretending to be stupid and give us your honest view. The name your useing ‘Honesty’ implies that you are honest.

    Posted by Peter | February 24, 2012, 12:56
  12. Talk about dishonesty i read an article a couple weeks ago, where the government claimed that SVG N.I.S was not investing in the Barbados Four Seasons hotel project. Only to read this article on, clearly stating that S.V.G National Insurance Scheme has invested in the project.
    Here is the link-

    Posted by Ben | February 26, 2012, 14:18

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