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(CMC) – The Government t has disclosed that representatives from Unions and staff association negotiating on a gratuity formula for retiring public officers have not presented a new proposal as requested but instead, resubmitted the same proposal of 25 per cent.
In a statement late Wednesday, it was revealed that during negotiations last Friday, it was agreed that the associations would submit a counter-proposal to the Government’s Pension Engagement Committee as the Government had presented a new proposal of 8 per cent gratuity over an eight-year period.
Previously Government offered two per cent over 12.5 years.
“Government maintains that the unions’ current demand will break the Fiscal Responsibility Law and also negatively affect the country’s debt to GDP ratio which has been reduced significantly with the home-grown Structural Adjustment Programme,” the statement noted.
Union leader, Andre Lewis informed the media that the bargaining agents were awaiting a response from Government since submitting its proposal.
He also confirmed that the Unions were remaining with the 1959 formula of 25 per cent.
The Government has maintained that the 1958 law was repealed when the National Insurance law was enacted and enforced. Explaining that accepting the 1958 formula will not only cripple the country financially but deny the country of grant funding from international donors, Government said that approving the 25 per cent gratuity for each retiring officer will also jeopardise social net programmes.
Following the recent intervention by the then Acting Minister of Labour, Anthony Boatswain the Government first provided a new proposal to the trade unions last Tuesday. Government’s new proposal offers pre-payment of pension or gratuity of 8 per cent.
Previously the Government offered two per cent , a move that saw Unions walking of the negotiating tabled and engaging in industrial protest that resulted in public workers staying off the job for several days.
Union and government officials are scheduled to return to the bargaining table on Friday.