Government willing to resume wage talks

The Government of Barbados says it is willing to resume talks with the trade union on wages and salaries for public sector workers.

Those talks ended last month, but subsequently, both the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados, as well as the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), have indicated it was time for negotiations to continue.

The Democratic Labour Party also added its voice to the debate as president Dr Ronnie Yearwood called for an increase of five to seven per cent, pointing out the cost of living had worsened in the interim. The NUPW opened with 12 per cent.

The Ministry of the Public Service issued the following release:

The Government’s negotiating team stands ready to resume Public Sector wages and salaries negotiations following the adjournment of talks during December 2022, with the agreement of all parties.

The negotiation process for the Public Sector was launched on October 18, 2022, with delegates from the island’s trade unions and staff associations in attendance.

At that meeting, the broad parameters of the negotiation framework were discussed, including inter alia, the global challenges faced by middle income countries such as Barbados, in securing finances, the shocks that impacted Barbados at the national level, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the decline in the tourism market and the impact of the volcanic ash fall.

Notably, all parties made a commitment to maintain the confidentiality of the negotiation exercise.

The Government’s negotiating team, led by the Ministry of the Public Service, included representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, and the Central Bank of Barbados.

During the ensuing period October 19, 2022, to October 24, 2022, the negotiating team engaged the various trade unions/ workers’ representative bodies. The first round of the salary negotiation process was completed on October 24, and workers’ representatives were invited to submit adjusted proposals that would take into consideration Government’s limitations on paying significant across-the-board salary increases, given its constrained fiscal space.

In the spirit of that agreement, the various union/employee representatives submitted amended proposals between November 2 and 18, 2022, and a second round of negotiations commenced on November 2.

A consensus was reached that the second round of the negotiation process would be paused for the month of December, given the exigencies communicated by the trade union/workers’ representatives.

Government’s negotiating team stands ready to resume the 2022-2023 salaries discussion, in the spirit of its commitment to our valued stakeholders in the Public Sector, as well as their representatives. (PR/SAT)

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