The government has missed the June 2015 deadline for the review of a proposal by public sector trade unions for a one-time payment of one month’s salary to public service workers in the absence of a salary increase for 2011 to 2014.
“No. That review has not been done with them yet,” Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Ralph Gonsalves told reporters on Tuesday, but promised that it will be done before the end of this month.
“The situation — one of the reasons why we said we have to do this is that — look, I respect unions, I respect the workers representatives. In fact, I represent more workers than the unions themselves, so I have to respect workers’ representatives,” Gonsalves said.
He, however, noted that the proposal will cost around EC$25 million, adding, “It may sound, on the face of it, that rather than getting an increase for each of the years, just give a one month.”
Gonsalves said that the unions had initially suggested in December 2014 that workers at a certain level be given half month’s pay and other’s a month’s pay.
He said he told the unions in the discussions that the proposal was a “back-of-the-envelope” one
“When they came, when they send the letter subsequently, it was for everybody. But once you do it, you have to take into account not just the salary but what you have to pay additionally for the NIS payments, the pensions payments, which would follow as a consequence of those increases.
“So that’s why the figure comes up to 25 million dollars,” Gonsalves said.
“It’s a huge sum … I would expect before the end of this month I’ll have a meeting with them (union),” Gonsalves told reporters.