BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday May 25, 2016 – After years of accepting a wage freeze, public sector workers are now demanding double-digit pay hikes.
While the largest public sector union, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), has called for a 23 percent increase, the Barbados Workers Union yesterday said it would push for 18.
The calls follow reports that the Freundel Stuart administration is moving to restore a 10 percent pay cut for parliamentarians and some other senior administrators.
Opposition MPs have condemned the plan, pledging to donate the additional funds to charity.
Acting General Secretary of the NUPW, Delcia Burke said the decision by the government has incensed workers.
“[The workers] have been holding strain from since 2010. That would have been the last increase they would have received and they believe that the Government is very insensitive to determine at this stage they are going to restore the 10 percent cut,” she said.
The NUPW is calling for an 18 percent increase for the 2010 to 2013 period and five percent for 2013 to 2015.
Meanwhile, BWU General Secretary Toni Moore said following yesterday’s meeting with their shop stewards, that the 18 percent being demanded for the period April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2018, is practical.
She said Cabinet had agreed to lead by example when it asked workers to help bear the pain of the economic problems in the country, and the climate was now “ripe” for the pay increases.
“Our negotiated position represents what the Barbados Workers Union has recognized as being practical within the context of the last eight years that we were in crisis, and we thought that we should not vary that now only because it is public sector negotiations and only because there has been an obvious trigger,” Moore said.
Both unions have signalled their readiness to begin negotiations as soon as possible, with the BWU promising to forward its proposal to the government by the end of this week.