Barbados’ largest public sector union, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), is continuing to press for an early resumption to talks for salary increases for the island’s 9,000 civil servants.
Immediately after declaring victory in talks with Grantley Adams International Airport Inc for a pay rise for airport workers, NUPW President Akanni McDowall had given notice of his intention to demand an early return to the negotiating table with the Ministry of the Civil Service.
Contending that public workers had not received a pay hike in six years, the NUPW has requested a 23 per cent increase.
McDowall told Barbados TODAY this morning he was optimistic the two sides would get down to business as soon as possible to conclude negotiations which began about a year ago.
“We are asking for a meeting with officials of the Ministry of the Civil Service as early as possible this month. You may recall that the NUPW had asked for a 23 per cent increase. They have to get back to us. There is always a back and forth during negotiations. We are still negotiating. It is nearly a year since we started negotiations. We are aware that there is this back and forth before negotiations can be concluded,” the union boss said.
In defending its decision to demand a 23 per cent pay rise, then Acting Deputy General Secretary Delcia Burke said last May the requested increase was not unrealistic when factors such as increases in the cost of living and inflation were taken into consideration.
The NUPW official explained at the time that they were asking for an 18 per cent increase for the period April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2013 and a further five per cent increase for April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015.
“The workers’ allowances would have been taxed; they would have received an increase in land tax, road tax and excise tax. Utility bills would have gone up, there would have been an introduction of Consolidated Tax and the Municipal Solid Waste Tax which was just recently stopped, which would have been in operation at the time we submitted the proposal. There is now a cell phone tax. The basket of goods has been ravaged as far as we are concerned, so that basic food items are now attracting VAT,” Burke indicated at the time.
Also included in the proposals was a demand for workers to be eligible to receive pension after five years, as opposed to ten years.