PSA media received mixed reactions surrounding Finance Minister, Colm Imbert’s announcement at the concluded October 4 budget that wage negotiations with the larger trade unions could be initiated by the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO).
Speaking to PSA media via a telephone conversation, representatives of at least six PSA sections gave their thoughts on the pronouncement by the Minister of Finance regarding the commencement of negotiations. While most said staff were reserved in their feedback, others noted that they had a wait-and-see approach because they were cautious of the Finance Minister.
Firaz Hosein, elected PSA representative, spoke on behalf of Customs Officers. He pointed out that, “It is a step in the right direction but we are not going to hold our breath where that is concerned because he has made those utterances in the past and we are still waiting. So once we see that negotiations are taking place with the PSA, and we have been invited in the past by Mr. Duke to sit in those meetings so that gave us a lot of transparency where that is concerned. So, if he goes that way again we welcome that but again we are not going to hold our breath to this utterance. We wait to see what actions the CPO will take because he has a deadline of 31st December. So let’s see what actions he takes between now and then.”
A representative from the Airports Authority stated that staff has hardly reacted to the news maybe because they know it is next year. He said maybe if it was scheduled to happen for the Christmas period there would have been a different response. His answer was similar to Boxhill Bailey who spoke as the General Council representative for the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) workers. Bailey said, “The Finance Minister did not say anything to us. There are 12 months in the year.”
Other persons who were contacted simply stated that they were cautious and wanted to take a wait-and-see approach but noted that it is their personal view since the staff was rarely speaking about it also indicative of the lack of enthusiasm or buy in into the Minister’s announcement.