Sunday, April 14, 2024

Unions and Government reach agreement on salary increases

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Public sector workers will get a one-off tax free lump sum of $1 500, a six per cent salary increase over the next two years and a bump in allowances through 2025 for those who qualify.

This comes after the conclusion of negotiations between Government and the various trade unions. The agreement covers the period 2022 to 2025.

The one-off lump sum payment will be for 2022 to 2023 “for all persons who at March 31 of this year will have been working in the Public Service and in State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) that are dependent on central Government for recurring financial support”.

“Deductions will be made only for NIS for those persons below the maximum insurable earnings ceiling to secure their pension entitlements. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes all temporary workers who will be working up to the end of this month,” said a release from the Ministry of the Public Service.

For the years 2023 to 2024 and again from 2024 to 2025, workers will receive a three per cent salary increase for each period.

Those who are eligible for allowances will also benefit in the form of cumulative increases totalling 16 per cent. This will be in the form of 10 per cent for 2022 to 2023; 3 per cent for 2023 to 2024 and 3 per cent for 2024 to 2025.

Agreement was also reached on non-salaried items “aimed at enhancing the overall employee experience of public officers”.

This includes the creation of 22 master teacher posts, 10 posts for specialist nurses, the establishment of a Grievance Monitoring Committee to track and resolve public sector grievances to meet monthly, service wide regrading and job evaluation exercise to be commenced this year and the inclusion of additional posts in the public officers loan and travel allowances framework.

While these changes apply to people working in the public service and in State Owned Enterprises that are dependent on central Government for recurring financial support, the Ministry also encouraged those SOE’s which do not rely on Government “to conclude any outstanding wages and salaries negotiations in short order”.

“It is envisaged that the above initiatives, coupled with the increase in remuneration, will allow for the retention of valuable public service skills, upward mobility and the maintenance of harmonious labour management relationship in the public sector and State Owned Enterprises,” the release continued.

It also said the Government of Barbados recognised the sacrifices made by its employees over the last three years, tested by loss of life, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, while being under an International Monetary Fund programme.

The trade unions included the National Union of Public Workers, the Barbados Workers’ Union, the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union and the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados.  (PR/SAT)

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