Five days after they received a verbal pay offer from Government, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) today received written confirmation from the Ministry of the Civil Service.
However, when contacted today, NUPW President Akanni McDowall said he was not yet in a position to disclose details of the offer as he had not yet discussed the matter with his membership.
“Yes, we have received an offer in writing from the Ministry of the Civil Service and we will be calling a meeting of the membership sometime next week,” he told Barbados TODAY, adding that “after that we will be able to fully brief the media and the general public on the offer”.
The Ministry of the Civil Service also remains tightlipped on the offer, which was made when the two sides resumed talks at the ministry last Friday for the first time since August. However, sources familiar with the negotiations have told Barbados TODAY that Government is now willing to offer a coping subsidy in the interim, until the two sides can agree a new pay deal.
The NUPW, which has been demanding a 23 per cent pay hike, has been joined by the Barbados Workers’ Union, which is asking for a 15 per cent increase, as well as the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union and the Barbados Union of Teachers, in requesting a subsidy to help public workers cope with the taxing National Social Responsibility Levy and other measures imposed by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in his May 30 Budget as part of a $542 million austerity package.
However, with Government currently under economic strain and stress, it remains to be seen how much it is offering in terms of the demanded subsidy and if it would be accepted by the unions, which had previously rejected a zero per cent pay offer that was put on the table by the Freundel Stuart administration.
Just yesterday, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, while stating that she was not aware of the amount Government was offering public servants, told Barbados TODAY she was not in the least impressed by the gesture.
In fact, she said it was simply eight months too late, in view of Sinckler’s austerity Budget that has served to increase the hardships of workers.