In a bold move at a general meeting yesterday, government workers of the Civil Service Association (CSA) accepted a zero percent increase in salary – the initial offer made by government.
Civil servants, entering a full week back on the job from a three-week strike to press the hand of the government for 9.5 or 4.5 increase in wages, voted on Wednesday to walk away with no increase in salaries.
They have accepted though a $100,000 contribution to be shared between the CSA’s education and medical funds. They have also gotten the government to commit to addressing the pension age.
According to the CSA, retirees will now no longer have to wait until age 60 and beyond to receive their pensions. It will be an immediate disbursement.
But many are questioning the decision, including executive members of the CSA, who have argued that the workers maybe disadvantaged when negotiations for the new triennium begin.
However, CSA President Mary Isaac said the workers based their decision on several factors, including concerns that an increase at this time would push them into higher brackets for taxation, and that government will very likely impose a wage freeze on the public soon.
Moreover, they were mindful, she said, of government having to borrow to pay.
All other public sector unions have settled for government’s four-percent increase on wages with incentive packages.