111 Not on | Barbados Today

Not on

Sinckler hints at refusal to meet union’s pay demand

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler sent the clearest signal yet to public servants that Government would not agree to their demand for a 23 per cent pay rise.

Speaking on the state-run Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation this evening, Sinckler placed the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) on notice that such an increase would be “unsustainable”.

The NUPW, which represents the majority of public workers, said on Wednesday it would ask the Freundel Stuart administration for an 18 per cent increase for 2010 to 2013 and a further five per cent for 2013 to 2015.

“I am not sure that the economy could afford to sustain such a substantial increase in salaries because I don’t know what figures the unions, particularly the NUPW, have been looking at . . . but the figures that I have seen do not suggest that such would be sustainable.

“If, of course, we are saying that Government is relying too much on Central Bank printing of money or financing of the deficit . . . if we are saying that has to be brought to an end, I can’t imagine you would want to add fuel to that fire by putting unsustainable wage increases in place,” Sinckler said.

The minister revealed that the union’s demand would cost the Treasury approximately $150 million, reversing “those gains” which the economy was beginning to register.

He also warned that Government would likely be forced to implement some uncomfortable measures in order to pay for the increase.

“And then you have to come back and take even further measures to do fiscal consolidation that may very well wipe out those gains or even cause further discomfiture to the public service.”

Sinckler said he was not opposed to a pay rise for Government workers, but with the deficit still in need of substantial reduction, “I would love to see the circumstances under which such could
be sustained.

“But of course there are negotiations to be gone through and we will wait and see how those negotiations end,” he pointed out.

However, he would not be drawn into suggesting a figure which Government could afford.

One of the reasons given by the NUPW for the steep ask was Government’s proposal to restore to parliamentarians, the ten per cent cut from their salaries since 2014.

The union argued that the decision proved that the administration was able to afford a 23 per cent salary increase for workers.

However, the business community has poured cold water on the union’s proposal, describing it as impractical and unaffordable.

Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Alex McDonald told Barbados TODAY this afternoon the NUPW, which has not secured a salary hike for public servants since 2010, appeared to be showing signs of frustration.

“The request, along with the timing of the request, captures maybe the feeling of frustration that they may feel, given recent developments. But I don’t think it is a practical request at this time,” McDonald said.

The BPSA head said it would take intense negotiation for the two sides to get to a level that was appropriate and mutually acceptable.

“And I personally don’t know what Government can afford, if anything, at all,” he concluded.


emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

8 Responses to Not on

  1. Alex Alleyne May 21, 2016 at 2:43 am

    ELECTION WHEN ????????

    Reply
  2. Wasman May 21, 2016 at 6:09 am

    Elections tomorrow! Will that give you the increase? Or that will give you a brain.

    Reply
  3. recoanthony May 21, 2016 at 10:11 am

    DE UNION(S) GOT TO GET TOGETHER AND STOP PUSSYFOOTING DE PEOPLE AND MAKE DE GOV’MENT HEAR….HOW BE IT GOV’MENT CAN FIND MONEY TO DO ALL KINDS OF FOOLISHNESS WITH, BUT CAN’T OR REFUSING TO PAY PEOPLE, LOOK DEM GOING BACK TO PASS THEY 10% FINE, BUT LOOK HOW MANY PEOPLE WANT THEY MONEY TOO…….AND BIG IGRUNT PEOPLE OUT THERE MAKING EXCUSES FOR DEM IGRUNTNESS ..I AGREE ALEX ELECTION WHEN? WASTE OF TIME THEY ARE

    Reply
  4. recoanthony May 21, 2016 at 10:31 am

    LOOK 17MIL DEM TALKING BOUT IN NOVEMBER, PEOPLE WANT THE MONEY NOW, IGRUNT PIT BULL SAYING IF DEM PAY I GINE BREK DE GOV’MENT…..BUT DE NEW WATER AUTHORITY 60+MIL BUILDING ON DE HILL IT, AINT BREK DEM, DE MILLIONS ON THE PIPE LAYING PROGRAM AINT BREKING DEM, BUT TO PA DE WORKERS DA RIGHTFUL DUE WILL BREK DE GOV……..WELL WELL…..NOVEMBER IS AH LONG WAY AWAY WHO KNOWS IF ANONE MAY DROP OUT, AND THOSE MONIES DROP OUT TOO HUMMMMMMM

    Reply
    • Coralita May 22, 2016 at 9:29 am

      When you re-elect the BLP they still aint getting no 23% salary increase. The bottomline is, the country cannot afford it!!!

      You people who think that the BLP has some magic pill to fix everything bout here going be in for a rude awakening. Then when you realise that they don’t really make a difference your story line will change to some comfort story for said BLP because you have to remain partisan.

      Politicians got some of we real stupid. I don’t trust any of them from neither side.

      Reply
  5. clint May 21, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    It is common knowledge and practice in wage negotiations to ask for an increase that is higher than what is expected. It is also common knowledge and practice for incumbent governments, when the situation arises, to “engage” unions re increases in wages and salaries on the eve of elections. History has taught us alot. There is nothing new under the sun….

    Reply
  6. Loretta Griffith May 22, 2016 at 7:40 am

    I feel all civil servants should get an increment, but the sanitation workers and the police should get a bit more.
    I honestly don’t think the state can carry an increase of twenty three percent at this stage without serious repercussions, but
    something reasonable.
    All right thinking persons, I am sure will agree to a reasonable increment.

    Reply
    • Coralita May 22, 2016 at 9:36 am

      Agreed.

      I am sure if they accede to their request of 23%, half of the same public sector going home, that is the harsh reality. Some of these union leaders don’t think, they just love grandstanding.

      By the way, what does these unions do for their membership beside fighting for wage increases?? Do they empower them in any way to improve their lives? They certainly don’t encourage them to be productive.

      Reply

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