Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Five per cent insult

Published:Thursday | June 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM


It is sad that those who mould minds, attend to the sick, and serve and protect, have to be bending backwards to perform miracles daily for only two pence. Wage freeze after wage freeze, lasting over half a decade, has virtually caused salaries of essential service workers to be at zero degrees. The Government's offer of five per cent - three in the first year and two in the second - is not even a drop in the bucket that is so frozen, it has cracked.

From what my teacher taught me, three per cent of $50,000 is $1,500 and from what inflation has taught me, this cannot buy lunch and break for a child, nor lunch for an adult for a week.

For some, their service is so crucial it is against the law for them to strike, but it is normal for them to work for 'free'. Should public-sector workers understand that they will get more love when they are poor? Do our leaders know that organisations like National Water Commission, Jamaica Public Service Company, LIME and Students' Loan Bureau do not recognise hugs and kisses or accept them for payment?

On the other hand, however, our leaders lavish in luxury: they drive top-of-the-line motor vehicles, own two and three homes locally and abroad, receive housing, travelling, laundry, and entertainment allowances, and vehicle up-keep. They have police bodyguards and some posted at their private residences. A politician's more than $400,000/month remuneration package far exceeds the chicken feed that teachers are taking home. It is an insult to be offering $1,500 to a police officer or nurse after six years of below zero degrees wages and a 'Usain Bolt inflation' when Honourable Arnaldo Brown's cell phone bill is more than $1 million.

Three and two per cent is in no way encouragement to an already demoralised public-sector workforce.

Melvin Bolton