About the DPSU
The Dominica Public Service Union, formerly the Civil Service Association represents public sector workers in the Commonwealth of Dominica. It is the island’s largest public sector union. In 1939 it started as a staff association and was registered as a recognised Trade Union in 1961.
The union represents a wide cross section of those who work in the Public Service – those who work in ministries as well as those who work for statutory boards. For example, the union has members in DOWASCO, the Port Authority and Social Security.
Who can join the union?
Article 3 of the union’s Constitution states that “Any person employed in the public service as defined by the laws of Dominica or the wider public sector, including local government, statutory corporations, public utilities and government-assisted institutions, shall be eligible to make application for membership in the Union.”
Why join the union?
The DPSU represents the interests of it members especially as they seek to improve their lives and those of their families. The union represents these interests at work and in the wider community.
Article 2 of the union’s Constitution lists the objects of the union. These include “achieving improvements in conditions of service”, representing members on “all matters concerning their welfare”, and establishing and supporting “schemes of an economic nature” that enhance the welfare of members and their dependents.
Every day the union represents its members in the workplace, protecting them from unfair practices and actions, preserving their human rights and ensuring that they are aware of their rights as workers.
All of this is in addition to its role in bargaining for wages and salaries and conditions of service that benefit not only current workers but also all workers in the country. Most of the benefits that all people enjoy are because of the work and efforts of trade unions.
Over the years, the DPSU has continuously shown its commitment to its cause. In increasingly difficult economic times, the union has bargained for increases in salaries and wages and improved working conditions.
Membership in the DPSU is steadily increasing. Workers who are not in the traditionally defined public sector but who nevertheless provide a wide range of public services have joined the union the St Mary’s Academy have joined the union.
Being a member has its benefits
The most important benefit of being a member of the DPSU is high quality representation.
Over the years, the union – members and staff – have developed skills in representing members’ interests. Staff and Officers have attended and participated in a number of trade union workshops and programmes that help them to carry out their roles and fulfill the organisation’s aims.
This training and experience has been instrumental in helping the union to win many cases on behalf of members who had been unfairly treated and who had been denied their human and trade union rights.
Union members, as part of a united
group, have the right to a whole range of
benefits and services which are not
available to non-members:
- Representation when dealing with employers
- Services such as welfare benefits, discounts on purchases, group medical schemes, etc
- Paid trade union education leave to build members’ skills as workers and as trade unionists
- Assistance when taking cases to the law courts
The DPSU also seeks to meet members’ other needs through the following services:
- Group Health Insurance
- Discount Services with merchants
- Legal services
- Summer excursions
- Instant Kash
The highest decision-making body is the membership. The everyday business of union is managed by the Executive Committee. Members meeting at the Biennial Delegates Conference elect members to serve on the Executive Committee. There is also a Secretariat comprising a General Secretary and other staff who, together with the members, work to implement policy decisions.
The overall aim/objective is to help women participate in union structures so that union policies reflect women’s concerns. All women members of the union are automatically members of the Women’s Group. They elect from amongst themselves a committee to guide the group’s activities. Elections usually take place in the same year as the Biennial Delegates Conference.
Young Workers’ Group
The overall aim/objective is to help women participate in union structures so that union policies reflect women’s concerns. Additionally this is where the union can identify and train future trade union leaders. All members who are 35 years and under are automatically members of the young workers’ group. The
Education and Training Committee
This committee plans, organises and conducts education and training activities for members. It also advises the Executive Committee on the education and training programmes for members.
The union’s funds come primarily from union dues.
The dues are determined by the membership.
The dues pay for all the work that the union does – paying the staff and meeting other administrative costs, organising education and training, attending overseas training programmes, making contributions to local charities and community activities, attending regional and international trade union meetings, paying affiliation fees to regional and international trade union organisations.
Sometimes the union gets assistance from other trade union organisations to organise workshops, carry out campaigns, produce material and attend conferences.
The DPSU, because of its affiliation to regional and international trade union organisations is able to benefit from this assistance.
The DPSU is an affiliate of:
Public Services International (PSI) – the international trade union organisation that represents working delivering public services
International Transport Federation (ITF) – the international trade union organisation that represents workers in ports and in other transportation sectors
Caribbean Public Services Association (CPSA) – the regional grouping of Caribbean trade unions representing workers who deliver public services
Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) – the regional grouping of Caribbean Trade Unions.
DPSU’s policies, activities and work are guided by the following values.
- To promote and maintain the philosophy and principles of trade unionism
- To elevate and enhance the quality of life for all workers
- We believe in and practise solidarity
- We commit to providing effective representation to all members
- We believe in the provision of high quality public services provided by government
- We believe that the rights of every worker must be respected
- We commit to defending the rights of each and every worker
- We commit to ensuring that each member knows his/her rights and responsibilities
- To promote, protect and defend workers’ rights and enhance the quality of their lives through effective representation and collective bargaining
- To take bold initiatives to ensure that high quality public services are provided and maintained