by Linda Straker
Labour Minister Oliver Joseph has announced that Government and the management of 2 trade unions who were in intense negotiations, have finalised an agreement for the period 2013 to 2019.
Addressing a sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Joseph told members that the agreement was reached with the leadership of the Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU).
These 2 unions were the last to finalize the agreement package, and only last week concluded mild industrial action in the form of a go-slow, as a means to speed up the negotiations. The unions were refusing to accept EC$1,000 as a one-off payment for the period 2013 to 2016, and were instead demanding EC$3,000.
Government made that offer because it was the period in which Grenada was implementing a Structural Adjustment Programme, and as a result there were no salary negotiations for the period. Government offered the EC$1,000 as a one-off payment for the sacrifice made by the workers.
Joseph said that at the conclusion of the negotiations, an agreement was signed that will see an over increase of 10% salary between the period 2017 to 2019, and the one-off payment for the period 2013 to 2016.
The 10% salary increase is as follows, compounded:
- 3% for 2017 ($6.5 million)
- 3% for 2018 ($6.9 million)
- 4% for 2019 ($9.5 million)
The total salary increases for the 3-year period is $22.9 million.
In sum, in addition to meeting recurring salaries and wages on time every month since assuming office in 2013, the total additional monies paid by Government to Public Service employees from 2013 and into 2019 amounts to $106 million dollars.
“The difference here is that if the fiscal space allows, there will be a renegotiation in July 2017 to make any adjustment though a one-off payment,” said Joseph, who announced that although Ministers of Government are top public officers, no ministers or Member of Parliament will be given a one-off payment nor salary increase.
If there is any adjustment, it will be given to all public officers. “Members of Parliament will not benefit from these salary increases, we are making our sacrifice,” he said.
The one-off payment for public officers amounts to $7 million. The workers who are represented by TAWU and PWU will receive the one-off payment and increment for the period at the end of April.
The signing by the 2 unions brings Government to completion of the salary and wage settlements with the Public Sector Unions and Welfare Associations for this negotiation period, having previously signed with the Grenada Union of Teachers, the Grenada Manual, Maritime and Intellectual Workers Union, Police and Prisons Associations.
The membership of others unions who signed onto the agreement with Government before TAWU and PWU have already received their one-off payment and increment.
Joseph, who is also the Minister for Economic Planning and Trade, used the opportunity to call on workers to be more productive, as this is the only way the economy will grow.