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Tensions re-surface over rumour of possible public sector job cuts

Hermisha Rolle, SNO reporter

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Speculation that salary cuts may be impending for public servants continue to swirl, as government prepares to meet with leaders of their trade unions on May 2, ahead of the 2014/2015 national budget address.

A government press release on Tuesday April 22, noted that next week’s talks would be centered on government’s “proposals to reduce expenditure in the operations of the government of Saint Lucia.”

Pointing to the country’s fiscal deficit which went from 9.6 percent of GDP in 2012 to 6.05 percent in 2013, the government said in a letter to union leaders on April 17 that, a further reduction is needed in order that St. Lucia remains competitive and restores its financial credibility.

At the May 2, meeting the finance department is expected to make a presentation on the country’s economic performance. This will precede discussions on possible solutions to the current situation.

Questioned whether there is any truth to rumours of salary cuts of five percent for the public sector, Press Secretary  to the Prime Minister Jadia Jn Pierre-Emanuel told Saint Lucia News Online (SNO) that no decisions have been taken in that regard.

“We’re not yet at a point where the government of Saint Lucia has taken any decision,[or] has decided what the next step would be, [or] what the prescriptions are. What we will do when we meet with the union representatives on the 2nd of May is to have a presentation on the status of the economy,[and] on the performance of the economy over the past year;  [Also], on the policy measures that were implemented from the last two years to now, [and] what the impact was and to [have a frank discussion basically and what some of the options are moving forward – [and] what the government of St. Lucia can do to deal with the situation seeing that borrowing is no longer an option,” she told SNO.

“So I cannot say that we are at the point where the government of St. Lucia has decided what the policy prescriptions are. However when we meet with the unions on the 2nd of May the cabinet of ministers will be engaging the public sector worker representatives to have exchange to have a discourse in an effort to find common ground,” she continued.

In March, Opposition Leader Dr. Gale Rigobert had called on government to hold talks with public servants on the possibility of their retrenchment as the country continues to undergo economic strain.

“Will the St. Lucian government be forced to send civil servants home? That is a conversation that needs to take place. There is no harm in engaging the citizenry of this country in a very frank and honest discussion as to the state of the economy,” she had stated.

The government, in response to this plea, issued a press release stating that it was baffled by Dr. Rigobert’s statements on the need for the government to engage the public and inform them of the true state of the economy.

“For two years now, Prime Minister Anthony has been consistent with his pronouncements on the economy. The Saint Lucian leader has used every opportunity to apprise the public of the state of the economy and the outlook as he moved to implement new policies aimed at recovery,” a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office stated.

The government further said in its release, “What therefore are these so-called policy prescriptions? Is the United Workers Party suggesting that the Government of Saint Lucia adopt the example the Government of Barbados by sending public servants home?”

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20 comments

  1. Cutting salaries of civil servants when so many high profile positions were created for their buddies!! Many public servants have committments based on their salaries, mortgages, student loans, families etc. Many barely making it now with the price of groceries. Cutting their salaries will just lead to more poverty, crime and a very disgruntled public service! Greater implications for the economy! BETTER DAYS!!! We were FOOLED, SMH

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  2. I forgot to mention, if you Kenny is gonna take 5% from us cuz we got 4% increase but we only accepted 0%, then, you will have to take 36% from grade 19-21 cuz they got 35% salary increase, to be fair and balance.

    Food for thought.

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  3. Gov't may have to restructure the civil service, OK. But before one civil servant is touched all those high paid consultants living off the treasury must first be removed. Then the high life people in the embassies must be looked at.

    You cannot ask a career civil servant to take a pay cut when political consultants have landed themselves hefty contracts and just producing glib talk for their pay

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  4. Yet they Paid for Jadia's Hospital bills, after she make $8,000 a month!

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  5. Kenny do you want me to tell you how to get money back into the Treasury votes. 1. The number of consultants that was hired with high salaries plus a number of allowances should be sent home cuz the majority of them have no work to do; 2. The retired civil servants earning a pension and re-employed in the service should be sent home; 3. The positions being filled by party hacks, sibling, wife, brother etc. outside of the service should be reconsidered and current public servants promoted to these post making it less expensive e.g promoting a dps to a ps will be cheaper than employing someone from outside where you would have to pay them a full salary instead of a difference in salary; 4. The cell phones and plans given to certain officer who also have a land line still making cell calls and also getting a phone allowance; 5. The entertainment allowance given to certain officers should be cut why pay them to entertain them selves and I can go on and on but it will take too much time. Kenny think of what I just wrote and you will be surprised how much funds you will raise.

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  6. Jadia statements are very misleading. The only reason the government is meeting the unions at this time is just to inform them of what they have written down in pen and paper so they do not feel blindsided. The government gave civil servants 4% but they gonna take 5%. grades 19 to 21 received about 35% increase and kenny is going to take 5% from theses ppl who are enjoying their salary along with all other allowances. This is some unfair BS

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  7. First place they have to cut their salary then the consultants or take them out the same work they doing
    the PS cold do it

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  8. If the government goes ahead and cuts public servants' salaries, I cannot understand or accept that move as being prudent by our administration. The economy WILL contract and this administration can kiss their chances for the next general election GOODBYE. It is NOT the immediate civil servant that is affected, it is one person multiplied by MANY. These are whole families being affected here. And if they really insist on going in that direction, please START FROM THE TOP and leave well enough the Grades 1 - 5 officers who barely making it.

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  9. WHO THE HELL THE SLP IS FOOLING.WHEN THEY WERE HUNGRY THEY FOOL US INTO THEY BETTER DAYS AND WHEN THEY CAME IN IT WAS A DIFFERENT SONG SEE BELOW.
    “For two years now, Prime Minister Anthony has been consistent with his pronouncements on the economy. The Saint Lucian leader has used every opportunity to apprise the public of the state of the economy and the outlook as he moved to implement new policies aimed at recovery,” a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office stated.
    The government further said in its release, “What therefore are these so-called policy prescriptions? Is the United Workers Party suggesting that the Government of Saint Lucia adopt the example the Government of Barbados by sending public servants home?”PURE BS IT ENT JUST COME IT WAS THERE BEFORE YOU PROMISE BETTER AND WE GET BITTER DAYS.

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  10. I don't have a problem Civil Servants taking a cut in salaries. I am just highlighting the decietfulness of this Administration. They said they wanted 0% and you still want to blame them for accepting a forced 4%. If anybody is misleading is you. By the way am not a civil servant.

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  11. Charity begins at home, and the PM should set an example by taking the first pay-cut since he is the first/prime minister.

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  12. Hello? IMF, is that you at the door?

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  13. I say 5% is not enough, 10% is a more realistic figure, but from grades 5 up (including mp's). Those lazy public servants, shud b made to realise and understand that its not 'business as usual.' They r ppl who do NO WORK yes u heard right ( I'm a public servant so I know ok) and still hve a guaranteed salary at d end of d month. The rest of the unemployed and under employed citizens don't enjoy dat luxury. I say 10% salary cut from grade 5 up or retrench 500 'excess baggage' or 'dead wood' doing nothing productive and still enjoying a salary and perks!

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  14. Ministers salary need to cut,MP's cut, foreign missions need to cut jadia salary to be cut speaker of the house cut, president of the senate cut,consultants fired,and only then u go after the public servants.I'm ready to demonstrate for that cause who's with me?, then again lucians are a bunch of cowards.

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  15. Just do the right thing and do what is necessary without thinking of the Next General Election.

    It's not worth how disgrace we will be to see we have no choice but to invite the Global Economic Systems unto our shores to tell us the obvious.
    We do not need foreign agents to teach us "Economics 101."

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  16. Jadia's comments are also misleading since the opposition leader never said " hold talks with public servants on the possibility of their retrenchment as the country continues to undergo economic strain. She said that if the Government was thinking about the idea then they should start discussing it with the CSA. Jadia you can only twist people who don't have a clear understanding of English

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  17. The only thing that the PM has done consistently in this ailing economy is to say how bad it is and to hire much more consultants at Grade 21. Hire friends in embassy who while holding thses offices do their law degrees all at the expense of the state. You can only fool some of the people all the time.

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  18. You know that incompetence in office is really taking a toll on the country. This is the most garbage i have heard. Wasn't it this same public service that was ready and willing and urged the PM to forget their increase of 4%? Or did we have a change of Government? Something in this country is very idiotic or lunatic. For you cannot tell me that if i asked that my increase be forgone. You then go ahead and shove it down my throat and then come back and tell me "boy we have to cut you by 5% a few months later isn't that LUNACY IN AUTHORITY?

    Word from Civil Servants is that those who helped undermine the negotiations to allow government to have their way wanted compensation. In the surprise move by the CSA in taking 0% was to spoil the efforts of the pro-government faction. However, that faction realising that they won the battle but lost the war as they stood to gain nothing for patronising the government went back to their masters and explained that they did not get anything for wining the battle. The PM in his good wisdom and to appease his die-hard fans in CSA (many of those whom we know very well)shoved a 4% down everybody's throat. He went further to say that anybody who did not want the 4% would have to write the MInistry. He did this primarily for 2 reasons, the first being he would now know the actual people who does not support in in the CSA. The other reason being if at any point later he would want to blame somebody for the economic shotfall he would point to the CSA and say " When there was a problem you did not reject the increase. Placing these members in a box with their hands tied because which employee would want the Political directorate to know where they stand? As a matter of fact if it came down to cutting the Service who do you think would be cut first? The ones on the list of course. Isn't it marvellous that we have a Phd PM well schooled in CALCULATED VICTIMIZATION? I bet you all did not see that one coming.

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    • looshan to the bone

      Wam There how more deceitful can you be. All you all civil servants behave like you live in a bubble. While the global economy continues to tank; the Caribbean economies feeling the squeeze, we behave as though EVERYTHING is promised to us. Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua, St Kitts have had to face the jaws of the IMF. Saint Lucia had been warned time and time again and nobody paid attention. The UWP government gave a 14% increase coupled with ALL the state funds embezzled by the members of Parliament. Then the SLP came in and you cowards DEMANDED a 9% increase and were forced to take a 4% when YOU ALL KNEW the country could not afford it. And now things have gotten out of hand you all crying fowl. The 10% pay cut should start from the Ministers of government and filtered down to ALL civil servants.

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      • looshan to the bone

        WHO DOE HEAR MUST BE MAD TO FEEL. WHEN GREED, MATERIALISM, BOBOL, FRAUD, CORRUPTION AD THE HOSTS OF EVIL DEEDS stops then and only then we may be able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Its a sad day in hell when Peter MUST pay for Paul but it is what it is. My Advice; those of us who have mortgages, start booking your appointments with the banks for review of the terms and conditions. Start growing our own food. Stop the wastage in our homes; reduce our bills in order to survive with the impending pay cut. It is called AUSTERITY MEASURES being forced on us now by the International Monetary Fund.

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