Last update: 05-Dec-2013 12:18 pm
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Duke: Pay $$ owed to public servants
President of the Public Services Association Watson Duke has high expectations that Finance Minister Larry Howai’s 2013/2014 fiscal package will be a “public officer’s budget.” Addressing the media after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (Namdevco) at Debe on Friday, Duke hinted at mass protest if the Government failed to cater for the settlement of outstanding debts to public servants. The MOU gave rise to a four per cent increase in the wages of monthly-paid officers for the period January 1 to 31, 2011. Duke said if the PSA meeting with Howai to present their budget list failed to send the right signals, “then we will take a stage and tell them how we want to be treated.
However, he was willing to give Howai the benefit of a doubt, “that he will give some signal toward us in the budget so we are looking foward to those signals, toward the agricultural officers.”
He said he expected the budget to provide more disposable income to public servants, including an allocation for the reclassification of Namdevco employees and salary adjustments from a long-awaited job evaluation in the Public Service. “We have had some discussions with the Finance Minister and we have advised him on the expectation of public officers and the expectation of the PSA,” Duke said. “If those signals do not come, then we expect to at least speak of those issues in a different way on a different platform. Not just outstanding debts, this budget should signal the direction for public officers within the country. We are looking for a clear direction.
“As the PSA we are quite careful to ensure that public officers retain as much disposable income in their pockets as possible and we want public officers to have at new identity, a new vision of self.” Duke said the PSA had a 40-year-old matter for reclassification, “which was being dodged by many former presidents of the PSA and many former governments who claim to love the country and love public servants and have totally defied the interest of these public officers. “Now we expect it to be settled within the budget and this budget allocation so we are listening for something in that budget regarding that,” he said.
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