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SVG Teachers Union submits compensation proposal to PM

SVG Teachers Union submits  compensation proposal to PM

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Following discussions held last year, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) has formally submitted a proposal to Government, requesting a compensatory payment to teachers for the three years they did not receive a salary increase.

The discussions, which were held on December 11, 2014, saw talks between Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the Public Service Union (PSU) and the SVGTU, which has resulted in the proposal{{more}} of a one-off payment of one month’s tax free salary for all public servants, including teachers.

President of the SVGTU Oswald Robinson said that from 2011 to 2014, teachers did not receive any salary increases, as they did not have an “opportunity to negotiate.”

“We are saying give us a compensation for those three years,” said Robinson.

He said that the SVGTU and the PSU are both expecting a “favourable” response to their proposal.

The Prime Minister, who is also Minister of Finance, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday acknowledged receipt of the SVGTU proposal, which he said he has passed on to the professionals in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

“I have informed Cabinet of the matter. This is a significant demand that will call for significant revenue.”

He said this most recent proposal from the SVGTU is an amendment to what was suggested at the meeting in December. Gonsalves said at that time, the union requested a full month’s salary for public servants below a certain grade and half month’s salary for those above that grade.

“Bear in mind of all the challenges we have had, public servants since 2001, have had enhancements in salaries ranging between 55 per cent and over 100 per cent.”

The Prime Minister said all of this has happened in an environment in which inflation has not gone up by more than one third.

“I would like to pay employees of the State more, but we have to do what is reasonable, affordable and fair.”

The compensatory payment, as proposed by the SVGTU is estimated to cost the government approximately $20 million – the monthly public service wage bill.

The Prime Minister said he awaits the advice of the professionals in the Ministry of Finance, but he is confident that the bulk of the teachers and public servants understand what he is saying.

Robinson also said that he is working with the PSU on another proposal, which will be submitted soon to the Prime Minister.

“We are in the process of submitting another proposal for salary increases for 2015, 2016 [and] 2017,” he pointed out.

“As soon as they [PSU] are ready, we are going to submit!

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