Government and trade unions to meet today over salaries

By Admin. Updated 5:30 a.m., Thursday, September 8, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

From left: President of the SVG Teachers’ Union – Mr. Oswald Robinson (left), Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, and President of the SVG Public Service Union – PSU – Mr. Elroy Boucher (right).

The Government is set to meet today (September 8) with trade unions that represent public sector workers to discuss a number of things, especially salaries, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says.

The meeting with the unions is on the invitation of the ministry of finance, the prime minister said Wednesday on NBC Radio.

The Public Service Union – PSU and the SVG Teachers’ Union said on August 31, that they planned to discuss a number of proposals with the government including a 10% salary increase.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said on Wednesday (September 7), the government, “will deliver a salary increase for the public servants and we want to do so for 2023, 2024 and 2025”.

Dr. Gonsalves said, however, that it must be done properly.

In addition to salary increases, the unions say they are calling for:

1. A raise of the standard deduction for Personal Income Tax from $20,000 to $25,000.

2. Temporary reduction of VAT from 16% to 10% iv. Other taxes – temporary reduction of import taxes on essential items, thereby lowering their costs for every individual who imports those items, among other things.

The prime minister said that conservative estimates show that the cost could be in excess of $120 million for the quantifiable items requested by the Unions.

He said officials in the finance ministry put the figure in excess of $140 million Eastern Caribbean Dollars.

As he explained the possible financial implications that could result if the Unions’ requests are granted, the prime minister said he was not having a public negotiation, but rather, he was trying to edify the public.

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