Pay better and economy will rebound – Beckles

Hike wages and watch the economy return to growth and productivity take off, a leading union executive has proposed.

Treasurer of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Asokore Beckles reasons the Government’s current thrust to reverse the island’s economic fortunes using a profit-led strategy had proven to be all wrong and it was time to refocus with a wage-led growth strategy.

“We cannot continue to keep measures in place that stifle demand and productivity,” Beckles warned in a paper entitled, A Salary Increase is Necessary for Economy Growth and Productivity.

Setting out his argument, Beckles explained that under the profit-led strategy which features wage restraint, production falls leading to fiscal deterioration and increased borrowing by governments.

Citing Barbados’ case, he pointed out that since the 2008 recession workers had been “severely disadvantaged by Government’s economic policies which included increased taxes, job losses and a reduction in benefits among other things”.

Beckles charged that this model had not only failed to stimulate the economy but had become “increasingly destructive”.

“The destruction is evident in the job losses, closure of small and large businesses and an overall feeling of frustration, while not solving the intended macroeconomic problems of the country,” he argued.

Charging that workers were now forced to rely on credit to meet their demands for goods and services, Beckles was adamant that an increase in income would drive consumption demand and lead to a turnaround.

“This in turn leads to more production and by extension, economic growth over the short-term. This inspires a marked accumulation of capital over the long-term.

“It is now accepted that the vast majority of economies need a more sustainable wage-led growth strategy. This is because the increase in the labour share of output/income would promote an increase in demand and consumption.”

Beckles’ comments came as the NUPW anxiously awaits the resumption of negotiations for a salary increase for the island’s 9,000 civil servants, particularly since Government lawmakers this week approved the restoration of the ten per cent cut from the salaries of parliamentarians and other senior civil servants in 2014.

The union has demanded a 23 per cent rise.

NUPW President Akanni McDowall told Barbados TODAY after the parliamentary vote that “the last negotiations in relation to salary increases would’ve been in October last year and since then [the NUPW has been trying] to get a meeting with the [Government] to continue negotiations, but to no avail”.

Yesterday, the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Association of Barbados (CTUSAB) also backed calls for a pay rise for public servants.

“It is probably better for us to interpret it . . . [as] a signal that our economy can afford to provide some type of increase. So we are looking at it from the point of view that if that can happen, then as unions we can expect that when we go forward that we would suitably be able to get an increase,” CTUSAB President Cedric Murrell said of the restitution of the ten per cent.

6 Responses to Pay better and economy will rebound – Beckles

  1. Tony Webster January 28, 2017 at 4:18 am

    Hmmm…pay better FIRST…and then SECOND…productivity???

    I thought better of you, Mr. Beckles. Are you perchance related to that new guy now in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

    I agree that we certainly need a lot of changes (root, branch the whole nine yards)…in order to give our children ( all children, and not just kids of public-sector folks) any chance of a decent and sustainable standard of living, but this type of thinking, is well…not just passe…but moreso…fossilised. Any thoughts about cutting-back on the size; the structure of our bureaucracy?

  2. Sunshine Sunny Shine January 28, 2017 at 8:29 am

    You certainly do not know one shyte about economics. Stuuuuuuuupse.

  3. Donna Haynes
    Donna Haynes January 28, 2017 at 8:52 am

    I like the pay better part …

  4. Hal Austin January 28, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Mr Beckles…..stop laughing at us. I am in agreement: pay all unions members a 1000 per cent pay rise, including Mr Mc Dowall. In fact, make him head of the civil service with Mary Redman as his number two.
    Is Barbados now officially a lunatic asylum?

  5. Jennifer January 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    “Charging that workers were now forced to rely on credit to meet their demands for goods and services, Beckles was adamant that an increase in income would drive consumption demand and lead to a turnaround”.

    I can see to some degree of what this man is saying. Blacks are in the MAJORITY. Honestly they are like a child in a candy store when it comes to finances (slavery instituted). They like to spend, they are the financial spending engine all over the earth. Give them an extra $50 and they will spend $75 out of ignorance. They will buy more food, remi, clothes, cars, drinks, partying etc. They are not INVESTORS mainly due to this TAINTED POOR EDUCATION SYSTEM. The ones who are currently hoarding their monies may also start to spend some of it with this pay rise and false sense of economic growth. Lets be HONEST. NOT A BAD IDEA MR BECKLES.

  6. Sherlock Holmes. January 28, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    You want a BMW too? Just asking.


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