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Teachers refused to meet with PM

The Daily Herald, 12 May 2000

ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada - Grenada's teachers miffed at government's refusal to accede to their demand for a 10 per cent pay increase refused to meet with Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell Thursday at a venue in the eastern parish of St. Andrew's.

In what one report described as an "embarrassing show-down" a planned meeting between the Grenadian leader and teachers from that parish did not take place because the two sides could not agree on where to meet.

The prime minister arrived at the venue Thursday afternoon and took his seat inside in preparation for the meeting but the teachers refused to come in.

Reports said that the teachers union had advised its members to remain outside for the meeting instead of going into the building.

An eyewitness said that after a few minutes an angry Dr Mitchell then left just before teachers began a silent march around the town of Grenville. Government has offered a four per cent wage hike compared to the 10 per cent the teachers are asking for.

Meantime Port Workers in Grenada have voted overwhelmingly in favour of full-blown strike following the breakdown of negotiations over a new industrial contract.

However union sources say that although the vote was taken it is unlikely workers will actually walk-off-the job before next Wednesday's third conciliation meeting. Meantime the Technical and Allied

Workers Union (TAWU) has declared Friday a national day of protest and is urging everyone to wear red as it continues its campaign to save the jobs of 26 striking workers of the Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN).

A mass solidarity rally was planned for Friday afternoon in which members from other unions are expected to attend.

The Grenada Conference of Churches (GCC) has also been trying to resolve the dispute between GBN management and employees.

GCC who met with the two sides Thursday night is seeking a meeting with the GBN board in a bid to convince it to reverse a decision not to sign a labour commissioner's proposal calling for the reinstatement of the workers.

Management claims the workers abandoned their positions while the union insists the employees are on strike.