Wage negotiations to commence by March 2022.

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The many calls from public servants for wage negotiations to begin are not falling on deaf ears as Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley announced in the Parliament on Wednesday that public sector wage increases have already been calculated by the Chief Personnel Officer’s Office. 

As such, Dr. Rowley said it is expected that negotiations will commence by March. 

“A submission will be made by the Minister of Finance to Cabinet by the end of this month. It is expected therefore that negotiations can properly commence by March 2022.”

In the reading of his 2021/2022 budget presentation on October 4th, 2021, Finance Minister Colm Imbert rolled back on his decision that the government would not be meeting public-sector trade unions around the bargaining table. He announced that he in fact instructed the CPO to start outstanding wage negotiations with the relevant unions, but there has since been no word from any quarter of government.

Dr. Rowley on Wednesday sought to highlight that government has been maintaining on-time payments, without terminations or deductions, despite economic decline owing to the covid-19 pandemic. 

He explained, “This has been made possible through the judicious use of overdraft borrowings and withdrawals from the Heritage and Stabilization Fund.”

He added that the government is hoping for an amicable conclusion. 

Dr. Rowley was responding to the Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Representatives where he was asked by Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh for an update on the commencement of these negotiations. But when asked exactly how many negotiations are outstanding and how many are to be settled as public sector employees have been working on 2013 salaries, and also taking into consideration the continuous increases in basic food items and other commodities, the Prime Minister requested further notice time to respond.