UWI principal: Management awaiting CPO response on staff wage negotiations

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, pro vice-chancellor and principal, The UWI St. Augustine campus – Sureash Cholai

University of the West Indies Campus Principal Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine says management is waiting on an official response from the Chief Personnel Officer in wage negotiations that have spurred protests by staff at the university.

Speaking on Friday at the launch of the Growing Together small business training programme at UWI-Roytec in Port of Spain, Antoine said, while she thinks there will be a response soon, she could not give an exact time.

“I have absolutely no control over when I can get an answer from government,” she told reporters on Friday. “We are, just like the union – awaiting the official response of the CPO.”

She expressed hope for successful negotiations and promised that any new information would be shared once it became available.

“This is like any other industrial relations matter or action in any other industry and there is always a balance to be struck. There are certain protocols and rights involved on both parties.”

In a media release, the West Indies Group of University Teachers said salary negotiations for all staff including daily and weekly rated workers, monthly paid administrative and service staff, estate police and academic, senior administrative and professional staff were ongoing with the government through the CPO.

On Thursday, university teachers staged a protest with a “walkabout” around the school while threatening to escalate action.

Antoine said management at the university was taking the protest action seriously.

“That is their tool, let’s put it that way,” she said. “We are well aware that if negotiations break down, industrial action is the usual response of a union. So, from that point of view, we take it very seriously.”