Government has been put on notice that public servants will not waiver in their demands for wages and salary increase this year.
In fact, President of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations (CTUSAB) Cedric Murrell made it clear all employers should expect demands for pay rises because members were “interested in engaging employers” in such talks.
However, addressing the Week of Excellence 2016 seminar at the Grande Salle of the Central Bank this morning, Murrell reserved most of his attention for Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler who he advised to be prepared for “meaningful” negotiations.
“You must have heard already from the unions that we are interested in engaging our employers in talks this year for wages and salaries for our members. And so I give early notice to the Minister [of Finance Chris Sinckler] that he should so equip his negotiators with the tools and the resources that we can have a meaningful dialogue,” said Murrell.
Murrell told the audience, which included veteran trade unionist Senator Sir Roy Trotman, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union Toni Moore, Governor of the Central Bank Dr DeLisle Worrell, Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association Alex McDonald, and other private and public sector officials, that the union did not intend to be unreasonable in its demands.
But he assured them that it would not display a lack of purpose either.
“I want to assure him [Sinckler] though that we do not intend to be unreasonable, cantankerous, nor will we be loitering as we go about this exercise, but to say that we will be conducting this exercise with the full knowledge and understanding that our country needs us in terms of our vision for what our country is.
“And because our workers are an integral part of our country is why we have to engage. The outcome, I am sure that we will be able to determine, but the process must be protected and must be gone through,” he said.
The CTUSAB head complained that public sector workers had not had an increase since 2009 and there was a sense of hopelessness among some employees as a result.
“We have to engage on that score because it is very clear to me that in addition to all of the other causes that may affect productivity of workers one of the causes is the fact that there is a certain sense of hopelessness that we will not be getting any salary increases, and we haven’t had them for a long time, and we will not be getting any in the future,” said Murrell.
“Let’s understand that that hopelessness leads to other things, and so Minister I just wanted to make that statement. I don’t think that is a statement that you are not aware of, but I just wanted to reiterate that it is coming,” Murrell said to applause.
Sinckler did not reply to the notice, telling participants, “I am not going to respond to that . . . this morning”.