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GRENADA-Government defends payment to public workers

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mike Sylvester Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mike Sylvester
ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Jan 16, CMC – A senior Grenada government official Monday defended the decision to make a one-off payment of EC$1,000 (One Ec dollar =US$0.37 cents) to public servants for the period 2013-16, saying anything higher will be a violation of the Fiscal Responsibility legislation.

Last week, the Keith Mitchell government announced the payment as it reached agreement with various trade unions. But the Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) say they are not in agreement with the payment seeking instead EC$3,000.

TAWU President General, Andre Lewis, said that EC$3000 will cost government EC$17 million and that there are creativity ways to find the money, while Rachel Roberts of the PWU said her membership would prefer to have an increase because one off payment is not continuously added to salaries.

Salary increase“It’s not beneficial for public workers to take one off payment, it’s just one off and will not be reflective in salary, our membership prefers and want increase,” she said.

But Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mike Sylvester, said any payment above the EC$1,000 would be in violation of the Fiscal Responsibility legislation that was approved in 2015 and amended last year and providing for the salaries and wages of public sector workers to be no more than nine per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

“If we offer anything beyond that EC$1,000 we will be in violation of the law. If they want more than the EC$1, 000, they will have to take less that the three per cent because we would have worked all the numbers and so what is there is basically government’s best offer to keep within the law, to keep within the fiscal responsibility law,” said Sylvester who was appointed to the position one year ago.

He replaced Timothy Antoine who is the Governor of the St. Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).

Government is offering the one off payment for 2013 to 2016 as well as a three per cent increase for 2017 and 2018 and four per cent for 2019.

Labour Minister Oliver Joseph said that the new wage agreement will cost the government an estimated EC$7.3 million.

But Joseph said that not all workers will receive the EC$1,000 payment.

“If you’re working for less than a year, then you will get a lesser amount. You will get EC$500. You would not get the same amount as those who worked for more than a year. They will get a thousand,” he said.

The  other unions, namely the Grenada Union of Teachers, Grenada Manual Maritime and Intellectual Workers Union and Police Welfare Association have already reached a settlement with the Government Negotiating Team.

  • Countries: Grenada

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