Salary move

No more pay restraint!

That was the stern response issued today by the head of the island’s largest trade union to Government’s move to have the salaries of Cabinet ministers and other senior public officials restored to the pre-2013 austerity levels, by way of a ten per cent pay hike.

A resolution to this effect was tabled by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in Parliament on April 15 that will see the Prime Minister’s salary increasing to $203,175.60 ($16,931.30 per month), along with a travel allowance of $54,838.44 ($4,569.87 per month) and official car and residence.

The schedule showing the proposed salary increases.
The schedule showing the proposed salary increases.

Under the Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries (Remuneration and Allowances) Order 2016, provision is also made for Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, who is the unofficial Deputy Prime Minister, to receive in excess of $20,000 per month, compared to his other ministerial colleagues who will get just short of $17,000 a month, inclusive of allowances.

Terming the move “ridiculous”, NUPW President Akanni McDowall yesterday warned members of the Freundel Stuart administration that if they could afford to pay themselves salary increases, then they must be prepared to do the same for all other public servants.

In fact, McDowall, who has been pressing for a salary increase since the start of the year, said the union would now be upping the ante in terms of its demands, with a pay hike now at the top of its agenda.

“How could you take care of yourself before you take care of the persons who you are serving?”, asked McDowall.

“It is ridiculous,” he said, pointing out that “over and over” the union has been asking Government to grant a pay hike for the 20,000 plus public servants.

However, he said Government had consistently said that it did not have the money and that it was unable to grant increases.

“Now what this has done for me is that it has given me more motivation to go after a salary increase for those public servants. I can definitely assure you now that my number one priority is to make sure that the public servants of Barbados are given a salary increase in the shortest possible time.

“That is my number one priority, number two priority and number three priority,” the union leader told Barbados TODAY in response to Tuesday’s revelation by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley that the ruling Democratic Labour Party administration had tabled a resolution for the restoration of pay to MPs, following the ten per cent pay cut that was announced in December 2013.

Back then, Government had also revealed plans to send home over 3,000 public servants as part of an 18-month austerity programme that was subsequently extended by a year.

It was further agreed that effective January 1, 2014 there would be a freeze on the payment of increments for the two years. That freeze has now ended, so too the majority of cost-saving measures that were implemented at the time.

However, McDowall said he was fortified in his position that Government could actually pay public servants better.

“It is a most definite confirmation that they can afford to pay, not only based on what my people would have shown me, and I am talking here about the committee which I would have put together to analyse the position of the economy, not only based on that, but it is saying to me that since you have enough money that you can now pay yourself, you must have enough money to pay the public servants of this country. It cannot be a situation where you are taking care of yourself, before you take care of the people who you are there to serve,” he insisted.

The union boss was equally adamant that as Government workers continue to hold strain on a salary increase, “there must be some kind of sacrifice on the part of the leadership of the country.

“If you are saying to me that you do not have any money to pay public servants, well then you cannot have money to pay yourself. I cannot be supervising people and pay myself before I pay the people who I am supervising. There is something ethically wrong with that, there is something improper about that. To my mind I think although we have the evidence that you can afford it, I feel, based on the action that they have now decided to take, that we can definitely afford a salary increase,” he reasoned.

However, the NUPW spokesman did not want to reveal the precise amount the union was seeking in terms of a pay hike. He said the union had to negotiate with its representatives before going to Government with its proposal.

“I would want to give all of the relevant parties the opportunity to see the proposal from Government first before I decide to say the amount that we are asking for,” McDowall said.Earlier this year, the union had written to Government requesting an increase in pay as well as certain non-salaried items.

Government had responded asking for clarification of the information.

However, “what we need now is firm dates for the start of negotiations and I think that date should be sooner rather than later based on what was discussed in Parliament yesterday,” added the union official.

Today, Sinckler could not be reached for comment on the matter.

However, he had earlier said that while there were positive signs of a turnaround in the Barbados economy, he was not prepared to commit Government to any additional salary expenditure at this time.

“I don’t want to say ‘yeah’ or ‘nay’ but things still remain tight. We are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel; the economy is beginning to turnaround. We can see some economic activity but of course those things take time to gel and to get going, so it really has to be based on the financial affordability of the Government and whether the Government has the capacity to pay,” the Minister of Finance had told Barbados TODAY.

“At the end of the day, is the cash there? That is really the issue,” he had emphasized, adding “I will only know that once all of the numbers are in and that is not now the case, so I certainly would not be able to say that with any degree of confidence.”

However, while there has been no positive word on a pay increase for public servants, based on the 2015-2016 Estimates which were recently approved by Parliament, public servants are in line for $17 million in increments this fiscal year.

12 Responses to Salary move

  1. Alicia Thornhill
    Alicia Thornhill May 12, 2016 at 3:25 am

    Well well well

  2. Lawrence Griffith
    Lawrence Griffith May 12, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Do you see where the money is going? Small island as Barbados is paying Ministers more than Sweden. To maximize their salaries they try to manipulate it with so-called entertainment allowances. No wonder Barbados economy will never recover because the politicians are milking the taxpayers. Where’s the media asking those important questions? Where’s those beloved party supporters of both parties? Can’t you see you are supporting millionaires and they don’t care about you. Did anyone ever heard about the politicians striking because of pay or bad working conditions? Well I think you have your answers here..

  3. Santini More
    Santini More May 12, 2016 at 4:29 am

    The economy continues to tank, the public has been taxed to the point of poverty, the QEH has had $9 million chopped from its budget, garbage collection from householders is sporadic at best, illegal dumping is increasing, the roads are full of pot holes, school teachers are working to rule; HOW THE HELL DOES ANY OF THIS WARRANT A PAY RISE FOR THE SAME POLITICIANS WHO GOT US INTO THIS MESS?????

  4. Johnathan May 12, 2016 at 5:14 am

    Freundel Stuart none of them are accustomed to that kind of salary and none of them have done anything whatsoever to deserve that pay. He is a lazy,uncaring and indifferent man and surely does not deserve the tax payers money.
    Bajans should now see why they are still election mode after 3 years in a second term.

  5. Sue Donym May 12, 2016 at 7:47 am

    And not a cent’s worth of conscience among them.
    If a signature holds any clues to the state of mind, no surprises here.

  6. Sandra basc May 12, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Shameful!!! They want to be rewarded for poor performance.
    Now we see why we are so heavily taxed. So that they can pay themselves high salaries and secure a descent pension.

    Disrespecting the people of this country without shame and conscience.

    I am not for one political party or the next. I am one of those voters who put my X where I think it is deserved. This DLP party certainly will not be getting my vote. I did not think they deserved it the last time and certainly not this time around.


  7. lester May 12, 2016 at 10:32 am

    well why are we crying? this been going on for years both parties are guilty Remember when Owen raised the mp’s salaries and the reason was that they work hard, and that was when he was on his way out, fruendel is on his way out de ja vu people

  8. recoanthony May 12, 2016 at 10:57 am


  9. Ivana Cardinale May 12, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    There is going the 1.5% economic grow, to their pockets increasing their own salaries instead of fixing the roads for example that are in such a bad state that it seems that one is driving in the Moon and not on Earth, or build another hospital, etc.

  10. Elliott May 13, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Well MP’s don’t vote themselves into Parliament, they are voted in by the eplectorate- – the people in constituencies. Once they are there, what control do you have over their actions? Who said that they are our servants, anyway, they are more like our masters. So we are more or less subservient to them while they are there, and it is a simple matter of : Shut up and pay up, or else; a like it or lump it attitude until election time comes around again, when it is a case of: all is sweet and well again, lovey dovey attitudes. We never learn because we fall for it again and again- gluttons for punishment.

  11. Allison Griffith May 16, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Salaries are still the same, but supermarket prices are up, no wonder some folk are developing so many illnesses, they can only afford the basic necessities, which does not include fruit or vegetables, which the body needs daily. while politicians and others are eating sumptuously. God has a plan for every life on earth he made us and we just need to give him the glory instead of mere man, and see how things turn around, mean time I think public workers should strike for a pay hike.

  12. dave May 16, 2016 at 10:15 am

    The DLP should never have regain the Government under 30 years after they did what they did between 1986-94 and especially between 91 and 94. They should have been in the wilderness for 39 years. They would have been purged of people like Freundel Stuart and dem so . Bajans foolish especially the younger people –Ignorant to the bone !!!


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