ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Mar 3, CMC – The Grenada government has started paying the EC$1,000 (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) one-off payment to public servants for the period 2013-16 even as it continued to defend its position that anything higher will be a violation of the Fiscal Responsibility legislation.
According to a government statement, the payment “in recognition of the sacrifices made during the Home-grown Programme” will be made to public servants, “whose unions have already completed negotiations with Government”.
It said these include teachers; Gazetted Officers of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF); Officers of the Police Welfare Association; Prison Officers of the Prison Welfare Association; and Officers of Laura Estate and the School Feeding Programme.
The statement said that these officers also received salary increases in January 2017 as in keeping with the agreements signed with their unions.
The Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) say they are not in agreement with the payment and are seeking instead EC$3,000.
TAWU President General, Andre Lewis, said that EC$3000 will cost government EC$17 million and that there are creativity ways to find the money, while Rachel Roberts of the PWU said her membership would prefer to have an increase because one off payment is not continuously added to salaries.
But the government has already indicated that any payment above the EC$1,000 would be in violation of the Fiscal Responsibility legislation that was approved in 2015 and amended last year and providing for the salaries and wages of public sector workers to be no more than nine per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
In the latest statement, the Keith Mitchell government said that in addition to the latest payment, it has kept its promise to clear all outstanding increment payments for the period 2014 to June 2016, on or before February 15th, 2017.
“The final instalment (2015) was made together with the January 2017 salaries. This follows the payment of the 2014 and 2016 (January – June) instalments in December 2016,” the statement said, noting that 2017 salaries were also adjusted, for normal increments for 2017, for eligible public officers who are entitled to this adjustment, in January 2017.
“Government will make payments to the remaining public officers upon completion of the negotiations with their respective Trade Unions.
“Further, it is important to note that upon assuming office in 2013, Government honoured existing commitments for salary increases, for the period 2010 to 2012, in the amount of $40.5 million.”
The government said that the total payment to public service employees from 2013 and into 2019 is estimated at EC$106 million dollars, in addition to meeting recurring monthly salaries and wages.
“Government remains committed to meeting its obligations to all public officers,” the statement noted.