Categorized | Local, News, Regional

PM urges good senses as unions demand more in one-off payment to public workers

 ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Jan 24, CMC – Prime Minister Dr .Keith Mitchell has urged trade unions to put Grenada first as talks are due to continue on the one-off payment to public workers in recognition of the sacrifices made during the period 2013 to 2016

“It is not that we do not want to honour workers’ requests, but we cannot,’ Mitchell said.

The government negotiating team (GNT) last weekend met with officials of the Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) who are seeking at least three times more than the EC$1,000 (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) one-off payment being offered.

Mitchell K
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

The unions contend that the Mitchell administration can find creative ways in which to meet their demands and the parties have all agreed to meet again to continue the discussions “in the shortest possible time”.

Last week, Labour Minister Oliver Joseph said that not all workers will receive the EC$1,000 payment.

“If you’re working for less than a year, then you will get a lesser amount. You will get EC$500. You would not get the same amount as those who worked for more than a year. They will get a thousand,” he said.

Mitchell has said that his administration has offered salary increases of three and four per cent for the period 2017-19 amounting to EC$22.9 million to the public workers urged all parties to work together on a solution that puts the country first.

He said the restrictions on government’s ability to entertain additional payments that are being proposed by PWU and TAWU include the conditions agreed to in the Homegrown Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), which was implemented in 2014 and endorsed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He warned that if the government is to meet the new proposals “we will jeopardise the full benefits of the SAP including the millions in debt relief and funds that we stand to gain after the last successful review. “Therefore, if we lose the money from the SAP by agreeing to pay the unions their request, then we still will not be able to pay the money you’re asking because we won’t have it anyway,” Mitchell said, noting that in 2013, his administration honoured the existing commitment to pay a total of EC$40.5 million in salary increases for the period 2010-2012.

Mitchell said further that the measures contained in the Fiscal Responsibility Legislation recently passed by Parliament, severely restricts the amount that the government can spend in certain categories of expenditure such as person emoluments.

He said it would be illegal and contrary to law for his administration to spend in excess of nine per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Grenada in any one fiscal year on personal emoluments.
“No one is more conscious than me that we are in an election period within a year or year and half; therefore, if Government could pay what you are asking, then it would clearly be in our administration’s interest to do so, but it does not take into account the overall needs of the entire country.

“As a result, I will not, as Prime Minister, make a decision that will set the country back, as has happened in the past, because ultimately, the same workers will be the ones who will feel it the most,” Mitchell added.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by STAFF WRITER

 ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Jan 24, CMC – Prime Minister Dr .Keith Mitchell has urged trade unions to put Grenada first as talks are due to continue on the one-off payment to public workers in recognition of the sacrifices made during the period 2013 to 2016

“It is not that we do not want to honour workers’ requests, but we cannot,’ Mitchell said.

The government negotiating team (GNT) last weekend met with officials of the Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) who are seeking at least three times more than the EC$1,000 (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) one-off payment being offered.

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Mitchell K
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

The unions contend that the Mitchell administration can find creative ways in which to meet their demands and the parties have all agreed to meet again to continue the discussions “in the shortest possible time”.

Last week, Labour Minister Oliver Joseph said that not all workers will receive the EC$1,000 payment.

“If you’re working for less than a year, then you will get a lesser amount. You will get EC$500. You would not get the same amount as those who worked for more than a year. They will get a thousand,” he said.

Mitchell has said that his administration has offered salary increases of three and four per cent for the period 2017-19 amounting to EC$22.9 million to the public workers urged all parties to work together on a solution that puts the country first.

He said the restrictions on government’s ability to entertain additional payments that are being proposed by PWU and TAWU include the conditions agreed to in the Homegrown Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), which was implemented in 2014 and endorsed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He warned that if the government is to meet the new proposals “we will jeopardise the full benefits of the SAP including the millions in debt relief and funds that we stand to gain after the last successful review. “Therefore, if we lose the money from the SAP by agreeing to pay the unions their request, then we still will not be able to pay the money you’re asking because we won’t have it anyway,” Mitchell said, noting that in 2013, his administration honoured the existing commitment to pay a total of EC$40.5 million in salary increases for the period 2010-2012.

Mitchell said further that the measures contained in the Fiscal Responsibility Legislation recently passed by Parliament, severely restricts the amount that the government can spend in certain categories of expenditure such as person emoluments.

He said it would be illegal and contrary to law for his administration to spend in excess of nine per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Grenada in any one fiscal year on personal emoluments.
“No one is more conscious than me that we are in an election period within a year or year and half; therefore, if Government could pay what you are asking, then it would clearly be in our administration’s interest to do so, but it does not take into account the overall needs of the entire country.

“As a result, I will not, as Prime Minister, make a decision that will set the country back, as has happened in the past, because ultimately, the same workers will be the ones who will feel it the most,” Mitchell added.