Not budging

Govt sticking to its position on salaries for public officers

Talks between Government and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) for a pay rise for the island’s public servants have reached a stalemate, with the union now planning to engage its executive committee for a decision on its next move.

The two sides met this morning for four hours of negotiations, at the end of which they were as far apart as when they began, with Government negotiators insisting they could not move from their original position, Barbados TODAY was told.

The NUPW has demanded a 23 per cent pay rise, although Akanni McDowall, the union’s president, had said back in March that the workers, who have not had an increase in nearly a decade, were willing to compromise. Its sister union, the Barbados Workers’ Union, is asking for a 15 per cent hike.

Following the steep increase in the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), which both the unions and the private sector oppose, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had said the labour movement had agreed to wait until the end of September to find out how the tax would perform before a pay rise was considered.

Akanni McDowall and Freundel Stuart

Despite denials from the unions, Stuart repeated the allegation at the end of a meeting of the Social Partnership on August 11, much to the chagrin of trade union leaders.

Stuart contended that he had made a promise that, depending on its performance, Government would be willing to seriously consider either a coping allowance or serious discussions on a salary increase.

McDowall told Barbados TODAY that going into today’s talks, the union set out its position to Government that not only should public officers be given a salary increase, but that the increase was affordable.

“For example, the union identified that Government is collecting hundreds of millions of dollars – $372.7M more in revenue per year than it did in 2010 –  and some of that revenue should be paid to public officers. The Government has said that the increase NUPW is requesting will cost around $150M per year.

“We the union have shown that beyond any doubt that Government’s revenue has increased significantly and can afford to pay. It must also be considered that the cost of living in Barbados, since the completion of the last salary negations, has increased by over 30 per cent by the end of 2016,” he said, noting that by all indications, with the recent additional taxes imposed, the cost of living would increase by another ten to 15 per cent to between 40 and 45 per cent by March next year.

“Hence this union rejects Government’s position, as it is unreasonable. We do not agree that Government should wait to the end of September to determine the outcome of its new tax. The union has warned the Government that the NSRL will not achieve the expected revenue because workers are over-taxed and only through a salary increase will the country get out of this recession. We have so far heard reports that the NSRL is not performing as expected,” McDowall added.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced in the Budget on May 30 that the NSRL, which was introduced in September 2016, would move from two per cent to ten per cent effective July 1.

He said then it would result in “increased revenue of $291 million for a full financial year and $218 million for the remaining nine months of the current fiscal year”.

The NSRL was imposed on goods imported into Barbados and on domestically manufactured goods. It was designed to finance the burgeoning cost of health care on the island and to assist with maintaining a clean environment.

Even before Sinckler had introduced the austerity Budget, the Central Bank of Barbados had given more than just a strong hint that it was against increases in wages for public servants at this time, saying any rise would put additional strain on Government’s already burdened fiscal position.

In fact, Acting Governor Cleviston Haynes had warned that if Government were to grant pay rises, it would be forced to introduce other measures to “compensate” for the additional expenditure.

ryangilkes@barbadostoday.bb

19 Responses to Not budging

  1. Sandra Madea
    Sandra Madea August 31, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    He`ll budged next year when he call ELECTIONS.

    Reply
  2. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd September 1, 2017 at 12:15 am

    FROON DEVIL

    Reply
  3. Divine Duchess
    Divine Duchess September 1, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Now he could tax everything left right and center, he hear the outcries from the public, know it is extreemly hard to survive because ends…just dont meet anymore yet a pay hike to help stretch the few cents a bit further,has to be contemplated stupse. People cant get by, cant save nothing….who could want a better PM???? Kmt do

    Reply
  4. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba September 1, 2017 at 2:11 am

    THE UNIONS REALLY F..ING AROUND, AND THE WORKERS BEING THEIR ACCOMPLICE, WORKERS!!!!!! PUT PRESSURE ON THE UNION WITH WANNA 6.00 $$…RID THIS COUNTRY OF THE DEMONIC LYING PARTY FOR GOOD…

    Reply
  5. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba September 1, 2017 at 3:36 am

    I REALLY WONDER, WHICH PLANTATION HE COME OFFA..HARROW? CARRINGTONS? FOUR SQUARE? BAYLEYS? WHICH ONE STUPESSSSS

    Reply
    • Jennifer September 1, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      @Ali Baba – The surname should tell you. This people still owned.

      Reply
  6. jrsmith September 1, 2017 at 5:26 am

    When will the bajan trade unionist realize , this priminster has had a bloody nose, blacks and white business people putting together a 20,000 peoples march , something this politician never dreampt would have happen,…………………………… Our priminster dare to challenge the white folk , but the black people in the unions he will come after you and thats our peoples fault, to allow the politicians in barbados to lock our people down………..
    We have nothing to challenge them with ,we need that (Accountability Act 2017) or else we are done ,, just think this government winning the up coming elections………Oh dear……

    Reply
    • Rasa Wain September 1, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      And the private sector, the same ones that give you all an unprecedented day off with pay, turn around and instituted their threat, and passed on all the taxes to the consumer, (Ostriches)

      Reply
  7. Piper Timaya Jordan Corleone
    Piper Timaya Jordan Corleone September 1, 2017 at 5:52 am

    For example, the union identified that Government is collecting hundreds of millions of dollars – $372.7M more in revenue per year than it did in 2010 – and some of that revenue should be paid to public officers. The Government has said that the increase NUPW is requesting will cost around $150M per year.

    “We the union have shown that beyond any doubt that Government’s revenue has increased significantly and can afford to pay. It must also be considered that the cost of living in Barbados, since the completion of the last salary negations, has increased by over 30 per cent by the end of 2016,” he said, noting that by all indications, with the recent additional taxes imposed, the cost of living would increase by another ten to 15 per cent to between 40 and 45 per cent by March next year.

    Reply
    • Ali Baba
      Ali Baba September 1, 2017 at 8:07 am

      PIPER, WE ALL KNOW THE GOVERNMENT AINT GOING PAY 23% THE NUPW ASKING FOR, BUT ITS RIGHT WHEN ONE BARGAINING TO ASK HIGHER, THAT WHEN AN AGREEMENT IS REACH, EVERYONE IS HAPPY………THESE PEOPLE ONLY CARE ABOUT DEM AN THE FEW ELITE

      Reply
  8. Alex Mitchell
    Alex Mitchell September 1, 2017 at 6:58 am

    budge him out of office , the stain of a Nation.

    Reply
  9. harry turnover September 1, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Wait till the end of September then and see wha he gine say.Maybe the MOF would then come and say that the revenue collected was only for 3 months and one would have to wait for a full year to see the total collected.
    All the Unions have to do then is to multiply the amount by 4 and show them that Civil Servants and Pensioners should get an increase.

    Reply
  10. Angela September 1, 2017 at 8:28 am

    The economy in trouble, the Central Bank Governor said it. What will it take you people to understand that sacrifices must be made for the time being. What we need to do is to find ways to develop an economy that can sustain our current development, We cannot rely on borrowing altogether if not 15 years from now we will be having these same discussions.

    Reply
  11. Zeus September 1, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Mr smith what nonsense you talking I thought by now you would have started writing with more sense ….tell the people of Barbados when last public sector workers in England got a raise of pay …tell them how many were sent home

    Reply
  12. milli watt September 1, 2017 at 10:26 am

    wonder what they could talk for 4 hours to arrive at the same position.
    NUPW: I want 20% increase
    GOV: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    Meeting done no wonder productivity is where it is.

    Reply
  13. Obserer September 1, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    This is democracy in action. However, the union’s strategy is not well though out. The state of the economy is very important and is a guide post as to whether or not wages and benefits will be successfully negotiated. Referring to 10 years ago without a pay raise was unfortunate but we are in a different time and place and therefore, serious consideration must be giving to the present economy we are experiencing. Usually, in a downturn economy unions tend to negotiate for example, improvement in contract language, better health and safety conditions, training, pensions, heath benefits, job security and a pay raise base on the cost- of-living. These demands should be on the union’s wish list, but wages should not be the main focus. The union needs to realize that any monies paid out by the government, will be recaptured in taxes, layoffs, a raise in duties or fees. The union demands may indirectly be responsible for raising the cost- of- living It is not a winning situation.

    Reply
  14. Denise Houston September 1, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    If the culture is to support the businesses in Barbados then the unions have to be paid . You can’t work and save money with low paying jobs . You need a robust workforce.

    Reply
  15. jrsmith September 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    @, Zeus , hail, hail , Mr clever clogs…What public sector workers in the (UK) to do with my comments………………………………..

    Reply
  16. Saga Boy September 1, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    There are people on this threat who are dangerous, who lack logic and common sense and who is attempting to stir up anger against the DLP. The gov has started that they cannot afford to pay public servants. If the BLP wins the next election they will be faced with the same problems. We will still have to go through the process rebuilding the economy. The NSRL has been introduced to dampen the demand for the use of foreign currency and is therefore having the desired effect. The alternative is for government to lay off people and reduced their indebtedness. The BLP on this thread want to cause an uprising among the people to force the DLP out of office but it s not working. It is not working because there are more right thinking people than irrational unreasonable people who support the DLP.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *