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UWI campus set for shutdown

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    UWI campus set for shutdown By Anna-Lisa Paul Saturday, January 22nd 2005 The planned shutdown of the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 23, 2005
      UWI campus set for shutdown

      By Anna-Lisa Paul

      Saturday, January 22nd 2005

      The planned shutdown of the St Augustine campus of the University of
      the West Indies remains in force as the wage impasse remained
      unresolved yesterday.

      Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education, Colm Imbert,
      said yesterday he was hopeful that by midweek next week he should
      have an enhanced offer to present to the West Indian Group of
      University Teachers (WIGUT) as salary negotiations continue for the
      period 2002 - 2005.

      The WIGUT membership is planning to withhold their services on Monday
      at the campus, and as a result, operations are expected to grind to a

      Negotiations started since January 2004 and WIGUT said when it did
      not receive any feedback from the minister before Christmas, it was
      decided that go-slow action would be implemented and staff would
      withhold their enthusiasm. They have since refused to release the
      results of last term's semester to the students.

      WIGUT had originally asked for a 30 per cent increase in salaries,
      which was rejected by the Public Sector Negotiating Committee (PSNC),
      who later offered a 15 per cent increase-an offer WIGUT rejected.

      Senior Assistant Registrar and Human Resources Manager at UWI, Hollis
      Nicholas, told reporters on Thursday that the university was hoping
      to get the PSNC to agree to a 16 per cent salary increase- which he
      was confident would help to break the impasse.

      However, WIGUT president Vishnudat Singh said yesterday that "while
      16 per cent will help to break the impasse, it will not necessarily
      lead to a resolution". Singh promised that action would be ongoing if
      no decision is arrived at by next week.

      Speaking with the Express later in Parliament, Imbert explained that
      while one per cent seemed to be a little extra, it would in fact
      place a burden on the Treasury, as the one per cent would total
      between $40 and $60 million.

      This is in addition to the $450 million UWI has been allocated for
      this fiscal year, he said. Imbert said he had requested that the PSNC
      consider enhancing the other benefits such as the travelling and
      housing allowances being offered to WIGUT.

      "I expect some movement by next week ... not necessarily in the
      percentage increase, but in other benefits so that negotiations can
      begin and I an fairly confident that we should be able to get a
      settlement in the near future," he added.

      When contacted by Express to find out whether WIGUT would abort the
      planned shutdown of the campus on Monday in light of the explanation
      by Imbert, Singh replied: "No, we will be going ahead with Black

      He admitted being aware of the suggestion for enhanced benefits, but
      said until there was written correspondence, the union would employ
      industrial action as past promises had not materialised.

      WIGUT met yesterday with university officials for almost one hour,
      but no resolution was arrived at. While some staff members heeded the
      call yesterday to wear something red, many students said they
      believed the staff deserved the salary increases and were well within
      their rights to employ whatever industrial action they thought

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