Thursday, April 25, 2024

Wage talks on the way

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Stories byBarry Alleyne The long awaited salary negotiations between the Public Service and the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) are just around the corner.  And according to general secretary of the BWU, Sir Roy Trotman, both parties will head to the bargaining table cognisant of the fact that any wage increases could lead to an introduction of new taxes.  But still hold off that talk about a wage freeze.  At a Press conference called yesterday to publicise the union’s 69th annual conference, Sir Roy said that he had spoken to the Acting Prime Minister earlier this week to provide a timely reminder of the union’s willingness to get negotiations started.
“First and foremost, we have to discuss the state of the economy before negotiations get started,” Sir Roy told reporters at Solidarity House, the union’s headquarters at Harmony Hall, St Michael.  Sir Roy noted that the entire Social Partnership would not be in place when negotiations start, since the National Union of Public Workers was intent on negotiating on its own, but the BWU was ready to rumble.  “What we will expect is some serious level of mature negotiating,” the general secretary said. “The public servants recognise the economic situation we are dealing with right now, but we do have to meet.”
Sir Roy said public servants, like all Barbadians, were aware that for them to receive a salary increase, Government would equally have to raise taxes to do so.  “But they also know that no one is willing to pay more taxes at this time,” the trade unionist said.  Sir Roy added he was constantly in touch with employers who wanted concessions and or moratoriums, but the first and most important issue was to save jobs.  He also commended a number of employers, especially in the tourism sector, who in the last 18 months, had opted not to lay off workers in spite of the economic turbulence.
“We will all have to hold on for a while,” he concluded.  Sir Roy said he was hopeful the negotiations could commence within the next month.

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