President of the Trade Union Federation (TUF) Julian Monrose has said discussions between the trade union umbrella body and government started out well this morning and both parties have decided to work with extreme caution as they discuss the islands current fiscal deficit,
“The meeting was frank and productive,” Monrose told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today.
The TUF president hinted that the discussions between the two parties could take a few weeks, if not months, as proper investigations will have to be carried out.
The TUF, he explained, restated its position on the proposal to the government, but noted that as each issue comes up for discussion, then more research and further discussion will be made. Monrose said the TUF will represent the best interest of the trade unions and those of the people of St. Lucia.
A cabinet subcommittee led by Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony met with executives from the TUF this morning to discuss proposals submitted by the TUF to deal with the fiscal deficit of the Government of Saint Lucia.
The TUF has suggested the imposition of 10 percent VAT on electricity bills for domestic customers, increased taxes on alcohol and tobacco products, such as cigarettes.
The government shared with the TUF its analysis of the proposals, including the likely revenue that can be generated by those proposals for which estimates are easily available.
Government is currently exploring measures to curb public debt since an increase by 1.5 percent over the past two years. Government proposed a five percent salary cut, but the majority of the island’s trade unions have rejected that proposal.