ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – The Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) says it has agreed in principle to accept the latest wage offer for public servants, less than a week after the Roosevelt Skerrit administration concluded similar agreements with teachers and police officers.
DPSU general secretary Thomas Letang, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio Friday said that the union had met with the government’s negotiating team earlier this week and accepted the 1.5 per cent increase suggested for 2011/2012.
“We are hoping that in the next couple days we would have what we believe would be a fair response by our members and that we can close the deal,” he said.
Last week, Skerrit warned that his administration would most likely trigger legislation that would allow for the establishment of a tribunal to deal with the impasse.
The government had initially offered a one per cent increase, but upped the offer to 1.5 per cent for the period 2011-12, which the DPSU had rejected, sticking to its demands for a three per cent wage hike for the period 2010-12.
NUMBER OF FACTORS
Letang said a number of factors had been taken into consideration before accepting the government’s offer.
“We looked at the fact that we were able to get the government to move from zero in the final year to 1.5, we looked at the fact that a number of non- salary benefits were paid to public officers,” he said, adding that some of the non-salary benefits include low interest rates for mortgages, duty free concessions for travelling officers, and a contribution to an education fund for public officers.
“We looked at the fact that we were able to bring back to the negotiating table the proposal that government contributes to the medical fund for public officers… that was brought back to the table and it was very successful,” he said.
Letang said that the union also “spent a lot of time looking at the possible implication or outcome of going to arbitration” and that the executive thought it would be in the best interest of everyone to recommend to the union’s general membership that the government’s offer be accepted.
“We have been in contact with our members through various means … and also the fact that public officers are coming to us, telling us that they believe we can close the deal. Based on all those things we are now recommending to our general membership that we accept this latest offer.”
Prime Minister Skerrit said it was also important to end the negotiations because fresh talks on the new 2012-15 triennium were long overdue.