Across-the-board increases for public servants cannot be a solution to, or getting toward the solution that is required, hence the decision to have differentiated increases for this category of workers, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan said.
According to GINA, Government has proposed differentiated salary increases which “will contribute to more meaningful reward for labour for public sector employees”.
Minister Jordan was quoted by GINA as saying that Government’s offer will be in workers’ best interest, since there will be a higher degree of certainty for increases based on an annual confidential report among other benefits.
“It’s about wages, allowances, merit increment and also de-bunching so some people will end up getting even more because to de-bunch you may have to give one increment or two increments. It’s an entire package,” Minister Jordan said.
Jordan said across-the-board payments for public sector employees contributes to the blurring of salary scales and widens the gap in public sector wages and salaries.
“The union asked for across- the-board (increases), we said we are not going down that road. I don’t know whether the union has accepted it or not. What I’m saying is that across- the-board has widened the divide, it has literally destroyed scales and all these things. I give you 40 percent across the board, you are earning $1M, the increase is $400,000. I give you the same percent increase, you are earning $100,000, how much is the increase? Look at the gap,” Minister Jordan explained.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister pointed out that the minimum wage set for the private sector some three years ago was intended to protect workers from exploitation and the time has come for the revision of that minimum wage; since in the public sector (the minimum wage) is now $50,000 and the private sector uses public sector wages as a benchmark for wages and salaries.
However, Minister Jordan hastened to point out that it is important that government takes care in establishing minimum and other levels of wages and salaries because there are long-reaching consequences attached to them .