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ralph gonsalves3
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (File photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Public servants here are unlikely to see any increases in their salaries before June.

But all public servants will receive in 2012 the automatic increments to which they are entitled.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said during the Estimates debate this week that any salary increases, even after June, will depend on the nation’s fiscal situation and the economy.

The government has budgeted EC$215.6 million for salaries, 2.7 per cent more than last year. A further EC$17.1 million will be allocated for allowances, and EC$17.9 million for wages, a total of EC$250.6 million.

But the 2.7 per cent increase in salary is because of several new posts within the government.

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“Given the prevailing fiscal circumstances, no provisions have been in the estimates for any increase in salaries for public servants,” Gonsalves told Parliament.

He said that he met with trade union representing public sector workers on Dec. 9.

The Teacher Union and Police Welfare Association, along with the Commercial and Technical and Allied Worker Union and the National Workers Movement, have agreed to a review of the situation in June.

“… of course, we will have to have discussions as to whether we are going to have any wage increases for 2012, when we reach that … in June.”

“… I want to thank the unions for their responsibility in this regard,” Gonsalves told lawmakers.

“So, by June 2012, we will meet with the unions again to determine whether the fiscal and economic situation would allow for the payment of this increase,” he said.

“Naturally, we agreed with the unions that the payment, if made in 2012, will be made retroactively,” he said.

In 2012, allowances are estimated to increase by EC$600,000 when compared with the approved budget for 2011. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Security account for these increased.

EC$300,000 has been provided as allowances as part of the budget to establish an embassy in Venezuela.

Gonsalves further said that police officers become married and have served a minimum number of years in the Force, they become eligible for certain allowances, the main driver for the EC$300,000 increase in allowance in National Security Ministry.

Wages are expected to increase by 3.9 per cent in 2012 when compared to the approved wages budget in 2011.

The EC$600,000 increase is accounted for by the Ministries of Agriculture and Education, where wages have increased by EC$400,000 and EC$100,000 respectively.

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