Union members weigh GOB’s proposal for salary adjustment

The Belize City memberships of the three public sector unions that have been demanding a ‘salary adjustment’ from the Government of Belize are yet to vote on whether or not they accept GoB’s proposals.
President of the Public Service Union (PSU) Marvin Blades said to the media on Monday that the proposal coming out of last Friday’s meeting between Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow and the presidents of the Belize National Teachers Union, PSU and Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) is based on the revenue out-turn for base-year 2012-2013.
Blades said, “[This means that] whatever is the difference between 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 base year, the government will give 50% to the unions for the salary adjustment, assuming that there is a surplus.”
The unions, therefore, met with their membership on Wednesday at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall to analyse and vote on the proposed compromise; however, the Reporter has been informed that no vote was taken on the basis of two “grey areas”.
Reportedly, one of the concerns was the use of the word “if”, relating to whether or not the public servants will receive their increase depending on a surplus of revenues.
Moreover, the meeting, which lasted for about three hours, was poorly attended, as not even one-third of the expected 600 members were present.
It is an interesting delay, considering that one day after PM Barrow and his Cabinet made the proposal, the Unions’ Councils of Management had met and accepted, in principle, the proposal’s terms among themselves.
Blades explained, however, that “it’s not a ‘yes’ until it’s finalized by membership.”
According to reports, a vote is expected by this weekend, once the grey areas are addressed adequately.
“If this is to happen,” Blades said, “the proposal includes financial year 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and the maximum that any officer can get will be 10%, even if the surplus is higher.”
He explained that two committees will work to finalize the details of the Government’s proposal and another will look at the revenue departments of the Ministry.
These are “to look at the numbers because we still couldn’t have a cohesion of those numbers,” he said.
According to Blades, the unions had made some suggestions for revenue collection improvements.
“We can bring our specialized economists to look at the numbers,” he said. “Their decision, however, is not final and it is not until all the branches of the three unions congregate and form one position on the proposal that a determination will be made. In the meantime, public servants will continue to receive their annual increments.”

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