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PM Mitchell seeks to calm industrial relations climate

Antigua Sun, 12 May 2000

ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada (CANA) - Grenada's Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell was on Thursday continuing a series of public meetings with private and public sector workers aimed at curbing a tense industrial climate in the country.

Dr. Mitchell met with employees of Cable & Wireless Grenada Ltd. following a session Wednesday with workers at the island's lone power outfit, the Grenada Electricity Company.

Employees of both companies are members of the militant Technical and Allied workers Union, which has threatened to shutdown the country in a bid to save the jobs of 26 striking employees of the Grenada Broadcasting Network.

Prime Minister Mitchell is later travelling to the eastern part of the country to hold a second face-to-face meeting with teachers demanding a 10 percent across the board pay hike.

On Wednesday, the Grenada Union of Teachers rejected the government negotiating team's latest offer of 4 percent up from 3 and 3/4 percent.

Prime Minister Mitchell has threatened to lower the ceiling on Percent Income Tax if government is to accede to teachers' demands.

The Conference of Churches is also seeking to mediate in the lingering dispute between workers and management at GBN.

A delegation from that organization is due to hold separate meetings with union officials and management on Thursday.

The Board of Director of GBN, controlled by Trinidad & Tobago based Caribbean Communications Network, has refused to sign a proposal from the labour commissioner to reinstate the workers.

A third pay dispute involving port workers seems set to intensify after mediation talks over a new wage plan broke down Wednesday.