Big shot pay cut
That is what businessman Robert Pitcher is suggesting that the Freundel Stuart administration consider as opposed to the mass layoff of over 3,000 people and ten per cent cut in salary of top Government officials, as announced recently by Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler.
Pitcher, who has worked in the publishing industry for over 24 years, said he did not believe sending home workers was the way to go in order to restructure the Barbados economy.
He told Barbados TODAY he was concerned that by sending home workers the Government was not setting a good example for the private sector.
The only way the Government would be able to do a pay cut in salary for civil servants was if two-thirds of Parliament members agreed to it by way of a vote to change a legislation that came about as a result of a similar situation in the 1990s.
“If Government sends home 3,000 people within the 14 weeks in 2014 it leaves the private sector to do similar. They will reduce their staff and you will find that there will be lots of big fish eating up the little fish . . . by buying them out. So we have to set the example in the public sector by not sending home people,” said Pitcher.
“I would like to suggest that in these harsh economic times . . . that they take not a ten per cent cut in wages but they take a 20 per cent cut,” he said of Government officials.
“I would recommend that you do not just send people home like that but the ones who have reached the pension age and still continue to work . . . be the first to go,” said Pitcher, adding that temporary workers “employed for political gains” should also be the ones “to go”.
“If a fellow [is] making $4,000 a month and you take away $400 he still has $3,600 to budget when the month comes. So ten per cent reduction in his pay packet can’t hurt him that much, all he has to do is to trim here and trim there,” reasoned Pitcher.
He said although it might appear “harsh that was the way we should go”.
With regards to the tourism industry, Pitcher advised that industry players start training people in Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese. Pitcher said he believed Brazil and China were growing tourism markets and Barbados should start capitalizing on them.
“It is important that for the Minister of Tourism to educate the Minister of Education to put those languages on the curriculum at school,” said Pitcher.