According to the prime minister, it is essential that all avenues are explored to continue discussing proposals to cut expenditure in an effort to reach consensus on the way forward.
In a letter dated June 19, 2014, the prime minister explained to the unions that notwithstanding their proposal that the GNT be appointed only to deal with matters related to salaries and the conditions of work, the scope must be broader, to allow for the negotiations of expenditure reduction.
Dr. Anthony wrote: “Despite the fact that the government believes that there is a wide difference between appointing a negotiating team for issues of salaries and conditions of work and a broad consultative process to discuss options that are wide-ranging and go beyond the traditional items of the contract of employment, the government was prepared to accede to the request of the unions and associations. In that spirit, and in an effort to compromise to find a solution to the issues at hand, the government reiterates that it is prepared to activate the GNT, appoint a chairman, commence negotiations immediately, provided that we agree to the agenda indicated above and as suggested by the unions and associations, agree to complete negotiations within two weeks after the commencement of negotiations.”
In his letter, the prime minister listed the two agenda items for the GNT as follows:
1. Salaries and conditions of work;
2. Expenditure reduction and wage adjustment.
Dr. Anthony says he is hopeful that a compromise will be reached at the soonest as the fiscal situation will continue to deteriorate if no action is taken.