Union against laying off public servants

Published: Sunday | December 22, 2013 Comments 0

St. Lucia's Civil Service Association (CSA) says plans by the Barbados government to trim the public sector should serve as a warning for the region to make the sector more productive.

The Barbados government announced last week plans to lay off 3,000 workers early next year as it seeks to cut back on expenditure and revive an ailing economy.

There has been speculation in Castries that St Lucia could follow Bridgetown or ask public servants to agree to an eight per cent wage cut.

Head of the National Competi-tiveness and Productivity Council, Reno Gajadhar, said that the Kenny Anthony administration needed to adopt a similar measure, noting that such a move was long overdue.

He said the government should have implemented measures to trim the public service four years ago, but delayed the process because it feared the political backlash.

CSA president, Mary Issac, disagreed with the statement, saying if this was the case, it was due to a number of high-level appointments by government based on favouritism.

"You also have a number of people being brought into the public service on contract. These workers get a gratuity every two years. That to me is a heavy burden as opposed to employing people on a permanent basis in the public service.

"…From where I sit, I am of the firm view that cuts should be made starting from the people that they are just planting in the public service, who are just choking the system and preventing persons from having upward mobility, as well all the political appointees that are being recruited into the public service right now," she said.

Issac said many of the consultancies given out by the government could be undertaken by public servants.

Issac said that the impending public-sector cuts in Barbados should serve as a warning to St Lucia that the region was facing severe problems.

"I think it's a situation that we have to take seriously, and we ourselves have to look at our public service and see how best we can make it more efficient and more productive," she added.

- CMC


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