(SNO) — Health Minister Mary Isaac is coming under fire for seemingly contradictory positions she took as president of the Civil Service Association (CSA) and a minister, now that the union is entangled in an impasse with the government over wage negotiations and salary increases for the 2016-2019 triennuim.
Back in 2013, when she was president of the CSA, a fiery Isaac had justified strike action by members on the issue of salary increase, during the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration.
“Well, the members have decided to take industrial action because they believe they deserve a 9.5 percent,” she said back in 2013. “They did not get the benefits that the other groups got, so they cannot sign off on the four percent. They want an amount that will compensate them for what they believe they are worth. Also they feel very disrespected. They feel that they are not very much appreciated for the services that they provide, so they have decided to withdraw their services until we hear something from our employer.”
Fast forward to 2019, when the same union, under the leadership of Julian Montrose, is at loggerheads with the government on salary increases for the 2016-2019 triennium, she claimed that it is trying to sabotage the government.
“From all indications, the union is trying to sabotage government, the very same employer that they should be negotiating with,” she said. “They are trying create mischief in the country… I want to caution the CSA to go by the rules.”
The apparent contradiction was not lost on Castries South Member of Parliament and member of the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Dr. Ernest Hilaire, who described Isaac’s statements as “bewildering”.
“Does she remember she was President of the CSA which initiated strike action against the SLP Government in 2013, 15 months after the SLP had entered into office?” he stated on his Facebook page. “Does she remember that she publicly stated that civil servants did not want a 4% increase and instead was clamouring for 9.5%? Does she remember her agitation and incitement of public sectors workers against the Government while she was positioning to be a candidate in the 2016 General Elections?”
He has described Isaac’s new position as a member of the government as hypocrisy.