Government still negotiating with unions

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James Fletcher is the minister responsible for the public service.

The Government of Saint Lucia has engaged the island’s public sector unions in finding ways to reduce expenditure.

The message from the Minister for the Public Service, Information and Broadcasting is that wage reduction has not been finalised and retrenchment is not an option.

Senator Dr. James Fletcher said government continues to meet with public sector unions to explore avenues to reduce the country’s current deficit.

In response to concerns raised by opposition senators during the debate on the 2014/2015 Appropriations Bill, Dr. Fletcher says there is no need for undue panic as nothing as yet, has been agreed upon.

“The Government of Saint Lucia is in negotiations with the public sector unions. Nothing has been decided on. Nothing has been agreed. The government has said that it must make a reduction in its expenditure. It has said so, and we have been having the meetings. And all of the meetings that have gone have centred on finding out how we make those adjustments,” the Public Service minister said.

In direct response to a suggestion of reduction by attrition, Dr. Fletcher said though government is exploring the difficult option of wage reduction, retrenchment is not an option.

“We have no intention of legislating a wage cut. There has to be a contract between the unions and the government to decide how we reduce expenditure. But Senator Montoute said that instead of doing a five percent cut let’s just do a process of attrition. Well Senator Montoute a five percent adjustment if we were to do that the savings from that would be 18.5 million or the equivalent of 495 workers being retrenched. So five percent wage cut or 495 persons being retrenched to give you a savings of 18.8 million.”

Dr. Fletcher said allowing retrenchment and failing to fill these respective posts would be disastrous to the island’s essential services.

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8 comments

  1. 496 jobs. Easy lets start with Fletcher and all the lawyers including those in opposition. Then get rid of silly posts like Press Secretary and Govenor General. And letz get rid of ALL consultants. ALL. Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing do ALL designs for the next 3 years. Agian NO CONSULTANCY and I guarantee there will be a significant reduction in government's expenditure.

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  2. Things can never get better if we do not grow the economy. What if we suffered blood and tears to bring down the deficit? Obviously our good credit rating would be re-instated. Why do you need a good credit rating? To take more credit, OBVIOUSLY.

    That explained, Another twist, while the people are suffering under increased taxes and cuts which not only diminishes their puchasing power but reduces profits of local business. How would this economy grow or be improved? Fools like "Bambi" are just the type of thinking (if any) which come out of brainless party hackers who offer no insight to people on issues. The PM is wrong on the way foward.
    The deficit should be reduced gradually in order to cushion the ill effects of rapid austerity and to still grow the economy. The PM seems to be in a mad rush to reduced the deficit now in order to be in a position to take more loans to embark on more capital projects aimed at ensuring his party's re-election. The results being Once again putting the country in a worst position as in 2006. Although he mentioned the loans which was left over by the previous administration he never mentioned the debt he left in 2006 (as successive governments have always left loans when voted out). By the way our debt to GDP was fine before he took office in 1997. This PM has this time around incurred more debt in 1 1/2 years than his predecessors had incurred in their 5 year term although they had been inflicted with Tomas, Drought and Financial Crisis (A financial crisis that the PM failed to mention while in opposition). So we are now in fact curing the ills of a Anthony led credit sweet tooth indulgence. DO WHATS RIGHT.

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    • The PM does not understand what he is doing most of the time because he has at most, just a rudimentary acquaintance with the field of economics. Whatever the one-man budget team that framed the last budget tells him, that is what he repeats.
      There is absolutely no balance or logic in this budget. If you choke off spending and growth just to look nice temporarily on paper to potential and existing government bond holders, that is a short-term effect. The outstanding bond obligations and borrowings still have to be met and paid.
      If you borrow for consumption spending with a farcical STEP programme, you are inviting a balance of payments in addition to the recklessness of consumption spending borrowing. The economic ignorance is revolting.
      It seems like the entire Ministry of Finance and the PS there in particular, need a very sound education on Sovereign Debt and Debt Management. Since they don't teach that in Law School, the Minister of Finance is all out to sea. He does not have a clue about the real repercussions of each policy decision or prescription. He repeats hook, line and sinker all that he is told. He does not know what to question, or when to question what that is said to him.
      We have yet another disaster in progress. The Minister of Finance is clearly out of his comfort zone. Political scheming is not economics. The blind here are all leading the very blind, from the ECCB to our national government.
      We can all keep on fooling ourselves. However, we are time and time again proving that not all doctorates and MBAs are created equal.

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  3. Why Montoute is for attrition instead puzzles me to me if everyone can have a piece of bread its better than nothing.We are in a crisis let us bite the bullet for now things will get better.any job lost now is tragic.Talks alone will not cut it we need decisive actions.

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    • If Montoute is using the term attrition correctly, then it is the most humane and sane policy to follow in the circumstances. Never mind his politics. It means that you just put a freeze in hiring, AND you do not replace those who leave, if, God forbid it, they die or better they quit leaving for greener pastures.
      We are not looking for a certain level of profitability as in the private sector, just not a bunching our payments from debt obligations and reducing our waste, cutting out unnecessary expenditure, and trimming the fat from the disgusting political largesse arising from "jobs for the boys".
      And why must public sector workers be the ones to bear the brunt of the assault of government stupidity and confounded mishandling of its vote-catching debt creations and the resulting debt obligations? Why? Why must the public sector always have to pay for politicians' political ignorance, arrogance, and blatant political stupidity?

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  4. Are you serious?

    How about everyone IN Gov't who's raking in over $25,000 a year contribute 7 to 10% of their salary back to the Gov't poverty pot?

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  5. The time has come where we need a far right party in the country which is built on freedom and expresses a liberal type of thought and philosophy. Where government would be less involved in the actual workings of the economy but exercises a more legislative and judical role. Government is not by its very nature an entity which conducts any business efficiently or for a profit and for such reasons should stay out of this realm. The problem is that instead of following leaders with this type of vision we have chosen those with only a vision of expanding their power and conversely their control over us and our businesses. DO WHATS RIGHT.

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  6. I am sure that the government has 495 SMILE, NICE workers. These jobs were created by government to address the unemployment situation (so they say). There has been some opposition to some of them since they do the same work as public servants. Why does it seemingly appear that there is a duplication of the service? This was evident when the CSA called on its memebers to strike.Why not have these people seek alternative employment. Government cannot be the main employer of persons in a country. Government has to create the environment so that the private sector can be profitable and expand to pick up this slack.

    The fact is there has not been a willingness by this administration to expand the private sector. They have burdened the citizenry with taxes to create this same employment in programs such as STEP, NICE, SMILE etc. These programs are nothing but welfare programs while the spending power of consumers are severly diminished and as a result businesses see their a reduction in volumes of sales. This is also topped off with the significant number of consultants and contractual workers being hired by the government. This administration has adopted a somewhat socialist approach by trying to be the main employer to control the prospects of a mass of the population who would then see it as the main bread-giver. This by extension causes the population to patronize the government as they become the main deciders of their fate.

    This modus apprendi is however detrimental to St. Lucia not only economically (since we would have many on welfare as against those who are actually productive) but politically as well. Since this type of patronization would only lead the way to suppression of freedoms which already is being evident and victimization of other who share contrary opinions. I think the SLP should change its name to Socialist Party just so that the people can be sensitised better as to its philosophy and its intent and as a result have a clear indication as to what direction they want to take. As it stands now we are to lift the veils and call a spade a spade in these times and have no time for deception. DO WHATS RIGHT.

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