The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVG TU) has been vindicated by the
judgment of the OECS Court of Appeal when the judges declared that the election leave
provision of the collective bargaining agreement that the Ralph Gonsalves government signed
with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union in 2005 is not unconstitutional. The
NDP is studying the judgment and will make further pronouncement in the future.
This matter was brought by the SVGTU against the government when after the 2010 general
elections; they refused to reinstate three teachers – Addison “Bash” Thomas, Kenroy Johnson,
and Elvis Daniel – who had contested the 2015 elections on behalf of the Opposition NDP. This
refusal to rehire the teachers was contrary to longstanding practice and a Collective Agreement signed in

2005 by the Unions and the Government to reinstate teachers who would have
contested elections and were unsuccessful at the polls.
This decision by the government to disregard the collective agreement signed with the Unions
had not only brought the three teachers to great personal hardships, but effectively they also lost
their pensions and other benefits.

The case on behalf of the teachers was first heard by Justice Brian Cottle, who in his February
10, 2018 judgment said that “When I consider the competing arguments as well as my
understanding of the governing legal principles, I am driven to the conclusion that the claimants
cannot succeed.” He further noted that the matter was one “for constitutional reform and not for
this court”. The claim by the SVG TU was then described as “entirely hopeless” and struck out.
The SVGTU persisted in their cause and on 29 January was vindicated.
The NDP congratulates the SVGTU for their courage and tenacity in pushing forward to seek
justice for their members despite the ruling of Justice Cottle. This historic victory is well
deserved and when viewed in conjunction with the recent victory of the PSU, highlights a
worrying trend by this ULP government over the years of a practice that is unmistakably anti-
worker and anti-union.
The NDP urges the SVGTU to continue to be true to their members and to represent their
interests first. Further, the NDP is calling on the Government to respect the SVGTU and the PSU
as the legitimate bargaining agents of teachers and public sector workers and to return to the
bargaining table with the unions in accordance with their obligations under ILO Conventions and
with historic practice in SVG. In addition, the government should respect the bargaining process
and engage in respectful and good-faith negotiations with teachers and public servants.

© 2020 New Democratic Party (NDP) St. Vincent and the Grenadines. All Rights Reserved.

PRO Lavern King. PO Box 1300, Saint Vincent, Kingstown VC0100