July 27, 2012
Public servants will have to wait for 3 per cent salary increase

Public servants have been told that there will be a further delay in the payment of the remaining 3 per cent salary increase owed to them.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, while responding to a question posed by the Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace during last Tuesday’s session of Parliament, said that this position was explained to the unions who represent public sector workers in the country, at a meeting on Monday, July 23.

“I indicated to them that at this moment, we are unable to pay any portion of the 3 per cent, but that we still remain committed to paying it from January 1, 2011,” Gonsalves explained.

According to the prime minister, and minister of finance, expenditure associated with personal emoluments increased some 2.6 per cent during the first half of 2012 or from $105 million last year to $108.3 million this year.

The increase Gonsalves explained was due to the number of increments and a number of vacancies within the service being filled.

“We could take the position that we did not have to fill the vacancies, but we have to try and give some people work and we make sure those working get their salary on time and those entitled to get their increments get them,” the prime minister said.

He added that about 60 per cent of the total civil servants received increments ranging from 3 to 5 per cent.

Gonsalves said that he could have paid the remaining 3 per cent since January 2011, but he had to make a choice of whether or not to pay the $4 million to the civil servants or giving the enhancements in public assistance payments to the poor.

He also pointed out that while the present fiscal situation was slightly better than that of 2011, the government was still running on a deficit.

“I had asked for the numbers to see if I would have been able to pay the one per cent or one and a half per cent at this time, but it is problematic,” the prime minister said.

“We have to balance and manage a number of things and that is where we are,” he added. (DD)