Trade unionist calls for more money for some public servants
A senior member of the island’s largest public sector union believes workers at the lower end of the salary scale should get pay increases and Government should review the process of appointing civil servants.
Danny Gill, a member of the National Union of Public Workers’ (NUPW) National Council, said addressing those two issues would be among his priorities if he wins the race for presidency in the union’s April 1 elections.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Gill said while he did not expect all category of Government workers could get salary hikes, those who get lower salaries deserved it. “Government should be able to set aside at least $3 million for this category of worker. Public servants have not had a salary increase since 2009,” he said.
“Government cannot expect to freeze salaries and pile on the taxes. We should not be surprised at the increase in the level of criminal activity.”
On the issue of appointments, Gill said the emphasis now placed on interviews to make selections was a disadvantage to those who were good workers but who might not be not as articulate.
Arguing that changes to the legislation that dealt with appointments had created some problems, although the authors were seeking to improve the process, he insisted that “the one interview situation is inadequate”.
“You have people who cannot do interviews, yet they are fantastic workers . . . You may be acting in a position for five or six years and you may be well seasoned in the position, but with the current process it only takes one interview for an individual with the requisite qualifications and no experience to secure the job,” he said.
“You can have a situation where you have been acting as an Administrative Officer 1 for five years, a candidate just graduating from university who has never acted as an administrative officer, has never performed the function, but based on one interview that person outtalks you and ends up being appointed in the position.”
Gill, who is a long-serving public officer, lamented that several Government workers who satisfied the stipulations to become appointed were still waiting.
In the wide-ranging interview with Barbados TODAY, the trade unionist also said there was a need to improve working conditions, noting that several public servants were working in “sick buildings”.
“Public servants are crying out about their work environment. We have a lot of workers falling ill. If we slavishly apply the Safety and Health at Work Act, many Government offices would have to be closed,” he contended.
He said the administration therefore needed to be more vigilant about building maintenance.