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Public servants to get 4 per cent wage increase

Public servants to get 4 per cent wage increase

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Public Servants here will receive a four per cent wage increase, 0.5 per cent less than what was announced by head of the Public Service Union (PSU) Elroy Boucher.

On Independence Day, Tuesday, October 27, at Victoria Park, during his address to the nation on the occasion of the 36th Anniversary of Independence,{{more}} Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves announced the wage increase, which was greeted by cheers from the hundreds of Vincentians gathered at the venue to celebrate the nation’s birthday.

The wage increase was the second of 14 announcements made by the Prime Minister that day. The first was of the Government’s decision to establish the statutory mechanisms to review minimum wages for all categories of workers, following which, in the New Year, Cabinet will receive recommendations that, according to the PM, “will surely result in an increase in minimum wages.”

In relation to the wage increase, the PM said that his government has determined, after consultation with the public sector trade unions, to grant an increase in salaries and wages for all categories of workers, pensionable and non-pensionable, in the public service for the year 2015, retroactive to January 01, 2015.

“This increase is modest at 2.5 per cent, but it is tax free. The cost to the Treasury amounts to approximately $7.25 million. This wage and salary increase will be paid in the December 2015 pay packet, on Friday, December 18, one week before Christmas. In January 2016, there will be a further wage/salary enhancement of 1.5 per cent,” revealed the PM.

He added: “there are thus no increases for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014. The representatives of the public sector unions and I arrived at this sensible and mature understanding in a meeting between us on Tuesday, October 20, 2015,” said Gonsalves.

On Wednesday, October 21, Boucher announced at a press conference that Government had offered public servants a wage increase of 4.5 per cent over two years — 2.5 per cent for 2015 and 2 per cent beginning in January, 2016.

The PM, however, noted that he also intends to, in 2016, create an additional number of senior graduate teaching posts from the current 65 to a number closer to 100, “to facilitate further upward mobility to these beneficiaries of the Education Revolution.”

During his speech, the PM said that despite the cumulative blows to our country from the global economic meltdown of 2008, and continuing, five significant adverse weather events between 2010 and 2014, the BAICO-CLICO debacle of 2009, and continuing, and the drastic diminution to the point of complete removal of the preferential market treatment for our bananas in the United Kingdom, our nation has kept things together and has thrived.

“Our resilience and fortitude in the recent challenging years have been a tribute to our remarkable people acting in concert with wise leadership. Although our nation is not yet out of the proverbial woods, things are getting better and the prospects for next year, and beyond, are very encouraging”, he said.

He used his speech to remind persons, that despite our challenges, our Government has not laid off public servants, but have instead hired more in vital areas to better serve the people.

“Wage and salary improvements have occurred; and we have paid public servants on time. Some of the other OECS member-states have not been able to do all this. And in a neighbouring CARICOM country, which has long been hailed as a model nation, over 4,000 public servants have lost their jobs and the remainder have not received a salary increase since 2008! Similarly, in a European country from which historically we have received some aid, its public servants have not had a salary increase for over five years. In St Vincent and the Grenadines, our blessings ought to be counted one by one. We thank Almighty God.”

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