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Government calls for good sense in salary negotiations

Published:Monday | November 19, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The Dominica government Friday appealed for good sense to prevail as the Public Service Union (DPSU) expressed disappointment at the position adopted by the Roosevelt Skerrit administration regarding salary increase for public workers.

The union said members will meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Public Service Minister Charles Savarin, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio, said the salary negotiations are being held against the background of a world economic and fiscal downturn which impacts on developed and developing countries.

DPSU general secretary Thomas Letang said the government is sticking to its position of one per cent for 2010/ 2011 and one per cent for 2011/ 2012.

We thought that if the government is offering one per cent at least they would have considered some tradeoffs. We discussed tradeoffs with them, they asked us to submit that in writing and some of the things we proposed were things we had initially proposed ... when we first submitted our proposals for 2009-2012, he added.

But Savarin said the union had requested an increase of two per cent in salary increases or one per cent increase including consideration of non-salary matters.

Whatever you give by way of a non-salary measure has a cost to it and at the end of the day all costs are to be met by the Treasury. So if you unable to give an additional percentage you would be very limited in your ability to give additional measures which would have a cost nonetheless, he said.

I believe good sense will prevail on all parties and that the interest of the state will be paramount, Savarin said.

Letang said that during the negotiations last week, the Skerrit government made it clear to us that they were not going to move and that was their final position ... and no consideration to the tradeoffs item that we were talking about.

He said that among the non-salary proposals submitted to the government included health related matters.

We were asking the government to consider either making a contribution to a medical assistance fund or contributing a percentage in premium of members for a medical insurance and the government said no, said Letang.