NIB PSA’s Section — ‘Hopeful but guarded!”

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October 26, 2021, would make it one year since the Public Services Association (PSA) successfully and legally negotiated 9% salary increases for the workers of the National Insurance Board (NIB). November 2021 would make it one year since the NIB workers have not received negotiated increases that by law are owed to them.

Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, on Monday during his presentation of the National Budget for the fiscal year 2022, stated that the Government was moving to settle outstanding wage negotiations in the public service.

“I have instructed the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) to commence in 2022, outstanding wage negotiations with the relevant representative trade unions in the public service,” said Imbert.

Chairman of the NIB Staff Side Section, Kellon Wallace, in a phone interview with PSA Media, alluded to being hopeful, as he stated that the Minister’s statement was a step in the right direction. However, he admitted that he remains very guarded, as according to him, the Minister has a habit for using words interchangeably and very cunningly.

Wallace, who is also an Executive Member of the PSA, had in March, filed an Industrial Relations Offence (IRO) in the Industrial Court and a Trade Dispute at the Ministry of Labour (MOL) against NIB’s management for non-payment of salary increases that was legally negotiated on October 26, 2020. The PSA, after successfully negotiating 9% salary increases for NIB workers, had been forced to legally fight for increases that had already been legitimately negotiated.

“Always be mindful of the words uttered by Colm Imbert and take it with a handful of salt. That is what we have learnt over the years!” said Wallace.

He reported that whilst NIB workers are eager and he too wants to remain positive, he continues to be cautious until there is proof in writing that NIB’s management has actually paid the outstanding salary increases and resulting arrears.