by Linda Straker
Beryl Isaac, head of the government’s negotiating team has confirmed that 2 of the bodies negotiating with the government for the addition to the one-off ‘sacrifice’ payment have signed on to accept government’s latest offer.
“The Prison Welfare Association, the Police Welfare Association and the Gazetted Police officers have agreed and signed on to accepted government’s offer of EC$750 for workers with more than 3 years of service, and EC$650 for workers with less than 3 years of service,” she said on Wednesday.
Isaac said that the negotiating team is now waiting on the other unions who represent a wide cross-section of the public officers. They are the Technical and Allied Workers Union, the Grenada Union of Teachers, the Public Workers Union, the Bank and General Workers Union and the Grenada Maritime and Intellectual Workers Union.
During the 2017 budget presentation, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell announced that government would be providing public officers with an EC$1,000 one-off payment for their sacrifice during the period of 2013 to 2016.
“Mr Speaker, for the first time ever, we are working toward a one-off payment agreement to every public officer who would have served a substantial portion of the period 2013-2016, in recognition of their contribution and shared sacrifice during the Homegrown Programme,” the Prime Minister informed the parliament in December 2016.
However, though some of the unions had agreed to the one-off, the Public Workers Union and the Technical and Allied Workers Union rejected the amount and demanded EC$3,000. Continuous negotiations resulted in the acceptance of the EC$1,000 and a promised from government to discuss further in June if the fiscal space allowed.
Since then, the parties are yet to reach an agreement on the final pay off. Government’s offer started at EC$500 and has moved to EC$750.
The negotiating team said that because of the Fiscal Responsibility Legislation, the government is unable to offer more money because collectively it will result in a violation of the 2015 legislation which put a cap of Government’s salary at no more than 9% of the total budget per year.