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Jan 29, 2013

APSSM past president says P.M. has power to make changes

George Myvett

While teachers and the B.N.T.U. took center stage through sheer numbers, the demonstration had the explicit support of the Public Service Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers. Leaders of those two unions were clear that while their members would not come out in mass, thus triggering a shutdown of public offices, representatives were in the demonstration to show their support. George Myvett is the immediate past president of the APSSM, and he was very clear that the salary adjustment is an absolute priority, though government does not seem to regard it as important. He says that everything now lies in the hands of one man, Prime Minister Dean Barrow.


George Myvett, Immediate Past President, APSSM

“We are basically saying to government that this is really not just public officers and teachers asking for a “salary adjustment.” We are basically saying that the economic circumstances, the cost of living circumstances, are forcing public officers and teachers down the slippery slopes of poverty and this is an issue we see as a national imperative and we are asking the Prime Minister and the official side of government to heed the call of public officers and teachers. We have exhausted or in my view—definitely on the salary issue—our negotiations with the official side at the level of the C.E.O.s. We have also, in my view, exhausted conversation with the three ministers who have been tasked to deal with this issue. And for us, I believe who holds the trump card is the Prime Minister. Early indications are is that the Prime Minister is much more engaging on constructive. He has basically indicated that if there is any flexibility in terms of their position, they would perhaps be willing to tie it to economic performance—this is fair. It is not the only issue that will be discussed in this regard, but we believe that it is a start. From out start, we have been not only patient, but constructive. We have our own constituents and we have been saying that we know that some of the issues being raised in terms of if public officers get raise; public officers and teachers get raises then taxes do up—that is a scare tactic. But we are saying that it is an issue that has to be dealt with. We have demonstrated in terms of the government’s own figures that you can have your salary adjustments and there should be enough to deal with some of the other national priority. So for me, it is a question of political will and priority for us; the salary adjustment is priority number one. For the official side, I would like to think that it is not priority number fifty.”


The unions are scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister on Friday, and early indications are that the government may be prepared to relax its previously hard line position on no to salary adjustments.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “APSSM past president says P.M. has power to make changes”

  1. Storm says:

    Teacher salaries should not be tied to the nation’s “economic performance,” as this unionist suggests. why should incompetent teachers even have jobs, let alone get raises along with everyone else?

    Teacher employment should be first tied to successfully taking a standardized teacher examination. Fail the exam, you’re out of a job BECAUSE YOU CAN’T DO THE JOB.

    Let’s only negotiate with competent teachers.

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