by Linda Straker
- Council said it never tried to avoid a meeting with Mitchell or the NDC
- Council has met with every major political party contending for office over last 6 election cycles
- Introductory meeting was held on 2 November
The Grenada Trades Union Council (GTUC) is accusing Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell of making statements about the Council that are “manifestly certified false.” He told a recent town hall meeting that labour leaders refused to meet with him and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party after he was elected as the Political Leader in October 2021.
In a press release issued on 8 November, the Council said it never tried to avoid a meeting with Mitchell or the NDC. “His statement is manifestly certified false as there are documented records of all correspondence between the now Prime Minister and the GTUC making clear the picture of who was avoiding whom.” The release points out that for the last 6 election cycles, the Council has met with every major political party contending for office.
Prime Minister Mitchell told the 31 October 2022 town hall meeting that his party wrote the Trades’ Union Council asking for a meeting, and their response was to put the request on the party’s letterhead.
“At that point, I realised clearly that we were not necessarily going in the same direction,” he told the meeting, which was broadcast live via social media platforms and television. The Council has explained that the initial correspondence was sent directly to the president and not the Council. The request for official correspondence was because “a personal email to any member of its executive cannot be considered official correspondence.”
Prime Minister Mitchell told the meeting that labour leaders were hiding and finding excuses to avoid a meeting, instead of meeting with him. “I want to say this to the trade unions’ leadership, not the membership; let us not pretend certain things. When I was leader of the National Democratic Congress, we tried to get meetings with the union’s leadership; not a single one of them met with me. They run, they hide, they duck, they found excuses. No one met with me.”
“When I became Prime Minister, they were happy to meet. In less than 20 days, they met and we advised that we were paying the pension. I also advised that the issue of pension must be addressed, they indicated and I took the advice, one at a time, and we going one at a time. We have paid the pension, the issue of pension reform has to be addressed,” he said.
However, the GTUC said that following the 23 June General Election which the NDC won, there was a meeting with unions representing public officers and Uniformed Service Association. This grouping is not the GTUC and it is, therefore, inaccurate to say that the leadership of all unions met with the Prime Minister within 20 days.
The Council said that it wrote to the Prime Minister in September requesting an introductory meeting which was held on 2 November 2022.