The injustice meted out to workers in St.Kitts-Nevis will thankfully soon be corrected. That’s the commitment of the Leader of the Opposition Team Unity, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris.
At a public meeting held in the heart of the Capital Basseterre on Friday 11th April, Dr Harris told a large crowd that his Team Unity was prepared to right the wrongs meted out to workers in order to move the country forward. He said he wants government to lead by example and to set high standards of conduct and behavior for itself. When government sets high standards of behavior for itself and its workers it imbues government the moral authority to persuade other employers to do the right thing.
Dr Harris said that the historic Team Unity government will:
- Ensure that all former sugar workers will be compensated. who were denied or short paid severance for which they had just entitlement. Ex sugar workers in St Kitts were short paid $16 million in severance payments. Many received token payments not withstanding that they had given their entire working life to the industry. Such disdainful treatment came after Denzil Douglas had promised the workers that their take home payouts would be better under 1961 Trade Union Agreement with St Kitts Manufacturing Corporation (SSMC) than would pertain under the Employment Act.
- The long service gratuity benefits will be implemented by Team Unity. The Severance Fund would be increased to allow for these payments. Another Labour Day is upon us. One year after the passage of the Act to pay gratuity to long service the illegitimate Douglas regime has failed the workers. The promise is far from reality. The Severance Fund has no money. Latest Report of the Director of Audit showed the Fund was in arrears of over $5million. A wreckless Minister of Finance allows this state of bankruptcy to be associated with the Fund.
- Workers injured while in performance of government by work are also to be compensated. One gentleman from Conaree who lost his arm while working at the School Meal appeared on the stage to showcase the injustice meted out to him. He is yet to receive any support from the government. His next step is to get a law firm like The House of Workers Compensation involved. Several others who worked with the Electricity Department and other Departments are suffering from the government’s insensitivity.
- Team Unity’s Leader also promised to take better care of Police Officers paying attention to their living and working condition and provide them with requisite resources to fight crime. The independent newspaper, The St Kitts Nevis Observer reported two weeks ago that the Police was without transportation. The Commissioner in response said the Police had bicycles. We are going backwards rather than forward. We need a professional Police Force fully equipped, well trained and motivated to protect and serve our people. In this regard Team Unity will work cooperatively with the Police and give support and resources to the Police Welfare Unit, so that it can properly meet the expectations of our Police.
Dr Harris declared that Team Unity is Ready to Govern. The charistmatic former Senior Minister said “After 25 years of one man, it is time for the country to experience genuine change. Our young voters need something refreshingly different. They need to know that injustices at the work place will not be tolerated.”