The Opposition United Progressive Party is making an urgent plea for immediate payments of back pay to public sector workers and 50% of the moneys owed to service providers.
These calls were made by UPP Political Leader, Harold Lovell, at a press conference held on Tuesday 13 December.
Commenting on the government’s paltry offer of a 7% pay raise, which is a mere 2% increase over the interim 5%, Lovell stated that he believes our public servants deserve better. He’s therefore asking the government to give the union a realistic offer that could be seriously discussed, given the impact of double-digit inflation and the deterioration in the standard of living and quality of life of public workers. Further, he requested an immediate payment of the back pay owed since 2018.
The UPP Leader commented, “We say what has been offered is not enough. If, as he [Gaston Browne] says, the salary increase is due to a protracted negotiating process, we are calling on the government to immediately pay the back pay which is due and is not dependent on the negotiation process.”
The UPP Leader also commented on an unofficial offer made by Gaston Browne on his radio station that has not been communicated to the unions. In calling on the prime minister to respect the negotiating process, the Political Leader said that even the 4 percent which the prime minister claimed was on offer, if it were granted and agreed upon, would translate into just $60 more per month for a junior clerk and $329 per month for a permanent secretary, who occupies the highest rung on the ladder.
The UPP has also launched an appeal for government to immediately pay vendors and service providers some of what is owed to them. These overdue payments go back, in some cases, as many as seven and eight years, and have caused great harm and damage to businesses, both large and small.
“We call on government to pay immediately at least 50 percent of what is owed to the business sector. This will allow the business people, the vendors the service providers, to meet their creditors, their obligations and to be in a position to provide a platform for real economic growth in this country.” Lovell concluded. (press statement)