Wage talks postponed until Friday

There has been a further delay to the planned resumption of stalled salary negotiations between Government and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW).

After receiving word last week from the Ministry of the Civil Service of the December 13 restart to the talks which have been fitful since last year, NUPW President Akanni McDowall confirmed today that Wednesday’s meeting had been postponed until Friday.

However, he is urging “anxious” public workers not to read too much into the latest setback.

“I would not read too much into it because I think it is case of the ministry just wanting to be sure that everyone that is supposed to be there is available,” he told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, while reiterating his union’s demand for a 23 per cent salary increase for its members.

“Barbadian civil servants now have the unenviable Caribbean record of going the longest period of ten years without a pay increase. The second in line is Jamaica, who went five years without an increase, so I know that public servants are anxious, but it is just two more days,” he said, adding that he remained confident that they would be in for some good news before Christmas.

The matter has been the source of a recent stalemate, with the union forced to dispatch a letter to the Freundel Stuart administration in October in which it stated in no uncertain terms that it would not be returning to the bargaining table if Government were not prepared to budge from its position of a zero per cent pay increase.

For his part, all the Prime Minister, who is the minister with direct responsibility for the Civil Service, has committed to so far is a review of the wage demand, based on the performance of the dreaded National Social Responsibility Levy which was hiked back in July from two per cent to ten per cent on the customs value of imported and domestically manufactured goods.

However, the outcome of his review was expected by the end of September, but there has been no word yet from the Prime Minister on the matter. 

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