July 17, 2015
Government misses deadline for review of unions’ proposals

Government has missed the deadline it set for a review of the proposal by public sector unions for one month’s tax free salary for their members.

Earlier this year, the public sector unions proposed that the tax free salary be paid as compensation for public servants not having been given any increase in salary over the past three years.{{more}}

However, a joint communiqué signed by Government, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), the Public Service Union (PSU), the Police Welfare Association (PWA) and the Commercial Technical and Allied Workers Union (CTAWU) on April 24, 2015 said during a meeting on that date, it was concluded that “the government is unable to commit to the proposal at this time without reducing expenditure on other areas such as social programmes and education”; and that the government would review the proposal at the end of the second quarter to determine the feasibility of honouring the proposal in part or in whole.

Responding to a question from SEARCHLIGHT at a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the proposal has not been reviewed, but he expects that by the end of the month he will hold a meeting with the unions’ representatives.

While making it clear that he respects all unions and workers’ representatives, the Prime Minister said the unions need to take into consideration the NIS contributions and pension payments that will be affected by this tax free salary. The Prime Minister estimated that the proposal will cost the government approximately EC$25 million. (CM)