No hike

Central Bank warns against proposed pay rise for public servants

With this island’s two trade major unions currently persisting with demands for double digit pay increases for their members, the Central Bank has issued a fresh word of caution that the economy can ill-afford any such fiscal strain at the moment.

Just last week the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) issued a warning to the Freundel Stuart administration that it was fast running out of time to get the stalled public sector wage negotiations back on track.

NUPW President Akanni McDowall revealed to Barbados TODAY at the time that the union had written to the Ministry of Civil Service demanding a return to the bargaining table by today for talks on a proposed 23 per cent wage hike for its members who have not had a pay increase for nearly a decade.

However, in a brief statement this afternoon, the NUPW said to date no acknowledgement has been received from the ministry; therefore the union was prepared to take whatever action was necessary to bring the parties to the table.

Amid rising domestic cost of living, the Barbados Workers’ Union has also been pressing for a 15 per cent salary hike for its members.

However, based on the outcome of a performance review of the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) at the end of September, the Freundel Stuart administration is yet to say whether it can afford to meet the unions’ demands.

Asked by Barbados TODAY to comment on the situation during his nine-month review of the country’s economic performance, Acting Governor Cleviston Haynes maintained the position he had taken back in May that a wage increase was not affordable at this time, given the delicate state of Government’s finances.

“On a net basis we cannot be looking at increasing expenditure.

“When you talk about increasing wages, given our overall fiscal situation, we need to be looking therefore at savings elsewhere because when you increase your wages bill, you don’t increase the amount of resources available to finance it. And one of the fundamental issues we face at present is our ability to adequately finance our expenditures,” Haynes explained.

“So from the Central Bank’s perspective we would not want to see anything done that would impact on the Government’s ability to finance the expenditures that become due,” he added.

According to the latest Central Bank report, domestic inflation rates jumped to over three per cent due mainly to increases in food prices late last year and earlier this year. Today the bank also cautioned of the increasing likelihood of above average inflation due to rising economic instability.

“Taking our overall macroeconomic perspective [into account], we would not want any shocks that represents a worsening in the fiscal situation as we go forward,” the Acting Governor said while acknowledging that the proposed wage hike was a matter for Government and the trade unions to decide upon.

12 Responses to No hike

  1. Judah Bowen
    Judah Bowen October 31, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    call election

  2. MARIA Holder November 1, 2017 at 6:23 am

    But the PM promised that with the NSRL doing so well that there would be an increase. Then again, a promise is a comfort to a fool and a politicians promise is a comfort to a fool and an idiot

  3. Freeagent November 1, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Maybe the unions should wait until the new government comes to office to receive the 23 percent wage hike for its members seeing that money will be flowing then.

  4. Don Keyote November 1, 2017 at 7:34 am

    While acknowledging that public workers have not had a salary increase in nine years and that, given the increase in the cost of living over the period an increase is due, I feel that the Unions must in the face of all the evidence come to the realization and accept that Government finances cannot afford the increase in expenditure that would entail.

    The same goes for Government ministers. The Unions should punish their insensitivity and greed in taking back their 10% by insisting that they reverse it as a condition of backing off of their calls for a salary increase and to show their disgust, take it to a national strike if necessary.

    • BARBADOS FIRST/PATRIOTIC PARTY (BF/PP) November 1, 2017 at 8:41 am

      @ Don

      AGREED. Compromise is needed by all sides for the benefit of Barbados.

  5. Saga Boy November 1, 2017 at 9:01 am

    The unions are politically motivated and totally irrational. They will reap what they sow. Membership will continue to decrease and so will their militancy. Their strategy at this point is to force the DLP into layoffs and redundancies. Regardless of which party wins the next elections significant changes will have to be made in this country. This situation cannot continue as is. The unions cannot be allowed to hold this country to ransom. Less than 30000 cannot hold this country to ransom. It has to stop.

    • roger headley November 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      But 16 can ruin it?

  6. BARBADOS FIRST/PATRIOTIC PARTY (BF/PP) November 1, 2017 at 10:47 am

    The union cannot be allowed to hold the country to ransom but the politicians are allowed to ruin it.

  7. luther thorne November 1, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    It is ‘inconceivabull’ that any persons besides l Saga Boy who is really the DLP Consortium / Carson/ Andy Perch etc – all fictitious in name but definitely not character and mission to deceive, would support this inept Government in their nonsense by infiltrating Social Media with the nonsense. The same investigation that Mueller is conducting can be transplanted to Barbados. Social Media in Barbados is being abused to do the samething that the Russian Bots were used in America elections. Jennifer Lazlow seemed to train all of wunnuh.

  8. luther thorne November 1, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    BARBADOS FIRST whatever.
    You barely want noticing .

  9. Belfast November 1, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    October 31, 2017 . Received interest payment of my Deposit Account with RBC.
    $22.00 (twenty two dollars) and $2.00 of that went to the Government as Withholding Tax. Worked out as 0.005% .
    or $5 for every $100,000 .
    Some of us in Barbados do not need an AK47 or a Glock to rob people, as long as we have the blessing of the Central Bank and this Government.

  10. Saga Boy November 1, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Luther just in case you are not aware, you don’t have a monopoly on speech, Opinions or common sense. All of us are entitled to say what is on our mines.


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