Public workers can expect less overtime in the future as Government slashes extra pay for extra time by more than half, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced on Friday.
Government expects to save between $8 and $9 million per year, she said.
Speaking at a media conference at Government Headquarters, Mottley announced that in some cases Government was spending as much as $13 million for the year in overtime pay.
This, she argued, could no longer continue as Government struggles with a high wage bill.
Mottley did not give details as to how this would be achieved, but said she had already met with the social partners and an agreement was reached that some measures would have to be taken to cut overtime in an effort to save on the Government wage bill.
“The unions and the private sector and ourselves reflected on the scale of overtime and Barbados cannot continue to spend $10 to $13 million a year in overtime and something is fundamentally wrong if our overtime bill is that high,” said Mottley, who gave the assurance that essential services would not be negatively affected.
“We have agreed that we will immediately work to remove the majority of overtime other than absolutely essential services, and to that extent we reckon we can save at least $8 or $9 million a year by eliminating overtime in that way,” she said.
The Prime Minister said such a move would help Government to become “fit” and reach its targets as outlined in the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme.
Mottley again denied Government planned to retrench 4,000 workers as suggested in some quarters, while it embarks on phases two and three of the programme, which will include restructuring of state-owned enterprises.
Under phases two and three some state entities will be merged, others will be privatized and some will turn into a private/public sector partnership.
It is hoped that some workers who will be displaced in the process will start their own enterprises and be able to offer some services to Government.
“We know that there may be some job losses but it is not going to be 4,000 to 5,000. How many I can’t tell you, I would be lying, but we know that the adjustments will not be as large as anybody has initially feared,” said Mottley.