Job threat

Sinckler warns thousands could be severed if union fights tax rises

 Thousands of public servants could be dismissed from the service if Government is forced to abandon the tax measures announced in the recent Budget.

The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is threatening industrial action if Government does not scrap the tax proposals, including the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), or institute a “coping subsidy” for public servants until salary negotiations have been concluded.

However, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler tells Barbados TODAY the Government is fast running out of options.

“I would say that if this really is the union’s position, it is as ill-advised as it is unfortunate at this time. I do not believe that the union leadership is oblivious to the fact that the alternatives to the measures which we introduced, including an increase in the NSRL, will be far more hurtful to public officers than what is proposed,” Sinckler said.

“Indeed, lest they forget, perhaps it bears reminding that there are a growing number of persons out there who believe that Government should immediately and substantially reduce the size of the public sector, especially its wages bill. Now while that may be coded language for some, it simply means that Government should send home thousands of public servants from the service.”

Sinckler said the administration, which in 2013 severed 3,000 public servants, had rejected this route and had chosen an alternative path, which “we are now hearing that the workers’ representatives don’t want and in fact are threatening industrial action over.

NUPW President Akanni McDowall and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

“Well at least we know where their head is even if we do not agree with them. But make no mistake about it; those are the hard choices which we face at this time. So if the NUPW leadership is prepared to make the choice of seeing large amounts of their membership lose their employment and with it the capacity to earn a living, then I would definitely consider that position to be both ill-advised and undesirable,” he warned.

However, the minister said he was prepared to discuss the issue with the union, although he gave no indication that he was willing to budge.

In search of an answer to a $537.6 million deficit, Sinckler announced in his 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals on May 30 that the NSRL on imported and locally manufactured goods would climb by 500 per cent, from two per cent when it was introduced last year, to ten per cent.

A two per cent tax on foreign exchange transactions was also announced, as well as increases of up to 25 cents on the tax on gasoline and diesel, all to take effect on
July 1 and designed to raise $542 million.

This has upset the NUPW, which has demanded a 23 per cent pay rise for Government workers, who have not had an increase in nine years.

The union’s president Akanni McDowall said over the weekend the NUPW had received permission from its executive “to do whatever is necessary to protect the interests of its members and the wider citizenry of Barbados” if the administration refuses to relent.

McDowall contended that the tax measures would drastically increase the cost of living by at least 15 per cent, and would be too much for the workers to bear.

“The workers of Barbados are not in a position to bear the consequences of the increases in taxes and levies at this time,” he said.

“Public servants have not received a salary increase in almost a decade, and although salary negotiations have commenced, there is no clear agreement or dates set for the conclusion of negotiations.” McDowall stressed, while warning that Government’s attempt to keep the struggling economy afloat by injecting $500 million in taxes would diminish the spending capacity of already financially strained households.

“The union further recognizes that the hike in the social responsibility levy from two per cent to ten per cent will result in across the board increases in the price of food, other necessity items and further diminish the spending capacity of its members and the wider public . . . These measures cut at the core of the functioning of every household in Barbados, some of which are already under extreme pressure,” the union leader added.

44 Responses to Job threat

  1. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore June 12, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Saying that this govt is between a rock & a hard place is a misnomer. Through a combination of wrong-headed policies & a failure to impliment those agreed to be wothwile, this DLP admin has created the perfect storm to destroy what’s left of our fragile economy. Not in a position to rescind these tax measures or grant a pay increase, Barbadians, employed or unemployed, are now saddled with an imposition on backs already burdened & bent over with tax impost over the last 9 years

  2. Bajan Fahlife
    Bajan Fahlife June 12, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Bajans brought this on themselves. Voted in an unfit and unprepared govt not once but twice. In 2013 it was already known that we had a pack of jokers leading up but because our grand and great grand fathers voted DLP many said they can’t vote otherwise. A party without an economic plan. A party that wouldn’t listen only interested in making sure that every MP and senator got minister pension. A party that insulted the people. The many DLP supporters put us in this position. Gave up a relatively good government one that is still wearing “L” after nine years. A work in progress gov’t. Thank you from the pit of my stomach.

  3. Stephen Knight
    Stephen Knight June 12, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    He just doing what his BOSSES at he IMF tell him to do. People wake up. i have a question for the gov. Would these new taxes be going to new clinics, road repair, a proper public transportation or a new Hospitals?

    • Philip F. Corbin
      Philip F. Corbin June 13, 2017 at 12:23 am

      Nothing so good my friend. Most of it will be going to settle the huge debt service that the country is forced to pay. Didn’t the PM say that downgrades didn’t matter ?

    • Ehc Eippam
      Ehc Eippam June 13, 2017 at 5:00 am

      How can it go into those things when it is going to be used to reduced the deficit. An there was no mention of the building or repairing of nothing within their budget for the year

  4. Sharon Taylor
    Sharon Taylor June 12, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Stupse Chris is am idiot, but so is d other fool…. Keep trying to create and stir up unrest…. Be careful, everyone may get what they wished for!

    • Roseta Forde
      Roseta Forde June 13, 2017 at 6:03 am

      Well said

    • Sharon Taylor
      Sharon Taylor June 13, 2017 at 6:13 am

      This island to small for any kind of unrest Roseta Forde

    • Roseta Forde
      Roseta Forde June 13, 2017 at 6:13 am


      • Milli Watt June 13, 2017 at 9:50 am

        you call it unrest I call it creative destruction……..bubbling up nicely

  5. Rommel Parris
    Rommel Parris June 13, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Now i dont get this if the taxes are implemented its like if you’ve lost your job if they dont you loose your job winner the government of Barbados government win win people loose no matter what and the suffocation of the Barbados Economy goes on

  6. Pedro Holders June 13, 2017 at 1:53 am

    It’s mathematically impossible for the government to avoid an eventual devaluation or default. Devaluation never solves anything… there is no history of a country ever solving their problems using that tactic. So if default is inevitable, why not just do it and get it over and done with?

    Of course, once you default it’s hard to get people to loan you any new money, so you would also need to lay off about 1/2 the government workforce.

    Things would suck for about a year but then Barbados would come roaring back. Just ask Iceland… that’s what they did.

  7. Boyce Jr Angus
    Boyce Jr Angus June 13, 2017 at 2:03 am

    Wtf….while I don’t agree with akani the minister very wrong…..he talking bare c@#,t cause if dem send home more ppl yhe economy in more trouble how de hell nis could tel more pressure? De more ppl get send home de less tax get collect de more strain on the same deficit dem claiming ta wanna bring down….if they really cared they wouldn’t put back on 10%on them already exorbitant salaries

  8. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall June 13, 2017 at 2:43 am

    I really would like the voters to go and vote out everyone of them, The hardship they have inflicted on the citizens are unbearable. Give Lynette 6 and the Bee’s 24.
    This government have to minister who keep noise about the austerity measures and still vote for it.
    The most duty free minister .
    Restore they 10 percent .
    Refused to give us a raise.
    Buy a new Mercedes-Benz.
    We paying 27 percent in taxes 10 percent to the merchants and 17 percent to government.
    What a group of don’t care, selfish people.

  9. Sherlock Holmes. June 13, 2017 at 2:45 am

    It is not what you say but how it is said. I do not know what to say at this point but the way things are going this place is not what it used to be,the last budget will in fact create serious problems and i am of the opinion that it will not make anything better.

  10. Lola De Palma
    Lola De Palma June 13, 2017 at 4:17 am

    They’re destroying Barbados, piece by piece.

  11. Daniel Zimmerli
    Daniel Zimmerli June 13, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Sinckler you should resign not push the poor Bajans more……..

  12. Lauraine Clarke
    Lauraine Clarke June 13, 2017 at 5:35 am

    Chris, you stupid baaaaaad.

  13. Bajan Positve Brian
    Bajan Positve Brian June 13, 2017 at 5:37 am

    In budgeting their is always a push and pull. If the government sends home people it will place more people on social services. Can the NIS or healthcare system sustain large numbers of addition un planned and unbudgeted people.
    What about the impact on the banking system with loan defaults?
    What about the future political system? Do we really want a sate without opposition?

  14. Roseta Forde
    Roseta Forde June 13, 2017 at 6:02 am

    I get the feeling Bajan seem want our dollar to devalue let’s March

  15. Waiting June 13, 2017 at 6:03 am

    I always hear that if you do something all the time and expect a different result you are mad, so I consider the Finance Minister mad and I pray for him and Barbados that we do not follow them and repeat our voting pattern for we will also be mad.

  16. Lynda Bonnett
    Lynda Bonnett June 13, 2017 at 6:04 am

    Clear example of who’s hand you put your finances…….one will invest and bring in profit,as again one will squander,live large regardless of the warning signs…..then the helpless poor have to burden Dem mismanagement

  17. Waiting June 13, 2017 at 6:07 am

    NUPW I don’t think that you should be striking and marching unless you have more information than what is in the public domain. Suck salt and vote them out and hope for a better day. You will hardly die by then, dig deep and pull through.

  18. AmaBajan June 13, 2017 at 6:43 am


    then have squandered our money…all kinds of advice wasmgivwn and DEM ain’t take it


  19. harry turnover June 13, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Chris Sinckler telling the Civil Servants accept it or go home ???? big man YOU DON”T HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO ISSUE SUCH THREATS….you is the Prime Minister or wha ?
    What you should have done is to recommend changes in the 21 days UNCERTIFIED sick leave or abolish it altogether because most Civil Servants make sure that they use up ALL of it year after year in addition to letting them pay the full NIS contributions.

  20. John C King June 13, 2017 at 7:19 am

    I wounder if this article is fully true because I understand theonly thing minister have doneis duc a day pay

  21. A Boyce June 13, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Well said Sherlock Holmes. You have now seen the light.

    • Sherlock Holmes. June 13, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Listen to me Mr Boyce i call a spade a spade and as far as both parties are concerned they are really not that far apart. I do not support the budget it will create serious problems for those who have to gear up their children for school come September.Clothing for school is already through the roof and books as well, i cannot in conscience feel good about it, heck Ministers of the same party are not in support of it. I however distance myself from your sentiment of now seeing the light i my dear chap has never dealt with darkness it is has always been the light for me. I oppose when i have to oppose and support when i determine i have to support.

  22. Ksmart June 13, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Wa I real confused if the worker go home who gin pay de taxes stupse wanna does want to bully people into what wanna want … News flash if the majority don’t come to work PRODUCTUON cease ……

  23. melissa maynard June 13, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I am going to say that we have to remember that this Government is made upnof human beings. With human beings mistakes will happen and bad decisions will be inevitable. The observation though is that they are hypocritical. The emoloyees of the government who receive the least amount of money in this economy should not be the ones to bear the axe to their failed projects. If anyone should be severed they should start at the top, that goes for ministers,consultants and whoever else that just come observed and use big words that mean so little. It is about time you all that you all at the top tighten your belts and learn how it feels to be suffocating. I will say a lot of you have forgotten the hard tedious journey they had in order to get to their status right now. Then again some of you were probably born with a golden spoon in your mouths.

  24. melissa maynard June 13, 2017 at 8:40 am

    I will add i hope our educated young people are observing. All of us are interdependant on each other whether you like it or not. We are not in this world alone. Make sure your decisions are not only beneficial to yourselves but to the country and to the world on a whole. Yes due to the hypocracy and to the damned if you do and damned if you do not atmosphere in this world today. There is still something called the right thing to do. We all feel despair but do not let that stop you from doing the right thing.

  25. Randolph June 13, 2017 at 8:43 am

    What a bunch of nonsense coming from Sinckler.Send home all the civil servant and let the unions close down the country.Then call elections and throw every one of Dem out.Bring it on Sinckler.

  26. Alex Alleyne June 13, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Now Union man, let me see your next move. I told you think about your members before you come out running your mouth.
    Barbados got “lil children” heading all unions. You got your job and I ain’t plan on losing my pick, so I ain’t marching and I never plan on doing so again,…….not-wid-you.

  27. Maureen fields June 13, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Stephen Knight, we’ve been through this before…. NO!

  28. Milli Watt June 13, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I can’t wait till next month should be exciting, I wonder if the BWU will stand with the NUPW I doubt TROTMAN will have a thing to say he is one of the more ‘progressive’ political leaders according to the PM. Chris stand yuh ground and balance the books bout time

  29. Alex Alleyne June 13, 2017 at 10:55 am

    This guy is such a JOKE that he now come on BRASSTACKS saying one newspaper article was misleading, “he never said anything about marching”. …..well, well, well.
    You should be hammering away on the increase for your MEMBERS.

  30. Big Man June 13, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Repeal the Tax and please the Educated without common sense
    Devalue the Dollar instead

  31. Greengiant June 13, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Right now, so printing money is bad for the economy, going to the I M F at this stage is similar based on the conditions that will be attached to any assistance they will offer, raising additional revenue in the form of taxes is also bad.

    Well, even though i’m not a supporter of this administration, the taxes that will be generated by the recently mentioned increases from July this year will help to pay public servants, and address the country’s dept. The only other option is to send thousands of public servants home. Calling elections now, even if the government changes at this time, the formulas remain the same. Once the public sector sends thousands home, business in the private sector will be reduced, and there will be layoffs there as well.

    Why is it that all these operatives, and members of the opposition are stirring up the people at this time, rather than tell the people what the alternatives are. They know at the moment they too are void of options. Will the members of the B C C I lend the government money if the B L P is elected to office? Stop this nasty political whore mongering at this time and tell the masses what your plans are to rescue this nation. The government has declared it’s hand now so the opposition, and all other parties who desire the people’s support should do likewise. Let the people choose based on information before them, not on emotions. At the moment the B L P are barely playing on the emotions of the people.

  32. Helicopter(8P) June 13, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    New taxes to get our heads out of the water! Swim and lay float people! That’s what it seems to me! Personal economic decisions have to be reinforced within our minds. Here are some of the most interesting decisions; (1) Do I need to drive an automobile every day of the week? (2) Do I need to buy imported food stuffs as much? (3) Do I need to drive my car to work which is less than five miles away when I can ride a bicycle to work? (4) I need to have my clothes locally manufactured (5) I will use my barbecue pit more often to cook meals. (6) I will strive to buy if i can a small portable power generator to watch TV and keep my refrigerator chilled. (7) I will grow locally as much food as the soil will allow me. These are the most crucial and critical moments of my the nation’s people! We have to live as though we are now in the Australian outback! Those Barbadians who live there can tell you!!

  33. Nan June 14, 2017 at 8:29 am

    They r too thiefing want to raise taxes and cant give a proper account where all de millions have gone smh till they find de how much ever millions that isnt relevant


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