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Union wants remaining 1.5 per cent by January 1

Union wants remaining 1.5 per cent by January 1

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Public servants’ pay packet this week was expected to contain half of the three per cent salary increase the government owed them since January 2011. And the Public Service Union (PSU) has called on the Government to pay the remaining amount by January 1, 2013.{{more}}

In a December 18 letter to Susan Dougan, Cabinet Secretary, the PSU said industrial action remains in effect until the full payment of the legislated 3 per cent.

During the presentation of the 2013 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure earlier this month, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves had indicated that an assessment of the fiscal situation will be conducted by the end of June 2013 to determine when the remaining 1.5 per cent will be paid.

However, Cools Vanloo, president of the PSU, said that the union is not bothering with that.

“We have made a statement and we are not bothering with that,” Vanloo told SEARCHLIGHT.

The union’s president further explained that although it had been agreed, and included in the letter, that the union regarded the government’s offer as an advance on the outstanding 3 per cent.

But he said he was sceptical about saying that the union had accepted the offer.

“I have to be careful because in a negotiating situation you cannot say that you accept the 1.5 per cent, because I don’t know — the technicality is that that could be a terminal situation,” he said.

He explained that the union viewed the situation as the government spreading out the payment of the 3 per cent over a period of time to couch the wage freeze that is taking place.

“Because we have not dealt with the issue (salary increases) of 2012 and 2013, so if you spread it out then people would lose sight of the fact that the government has not negotiated with the union for salary adjustments for 2012 and 2013,” Vanloo told SEARCHLIGHT.

“We understand what is going on and we are not losing sense of focus for the fact that readjustments have not been made for 2012 and 2013,” he continued.

He added that the union was also cognizant of the fact that the rate of inflation was a factor to be considered and that the public servants would be getting a 3 per cent increase on top of a 12 per cent increase in the cost of living.

“We recognise and we understand what is taking place internationally and locally, but there must be some concession somewhere,” the union president said.

Vanloo explained that the PSU, in a meeting with the prime minister in December 2011, had suggested that it would like to see an increase as of January 2012 and that the balance would be paid retroactively by December 2012.

In October, Gonsalves announced in his Independence address to the nation that the government was going to pay public servants half of the 3 per cent salary increase owed to them.

He said the 1.5 per cent amounted EC$6 million.

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