The Alliance For Change which is part of the APNU+AFC opposition coalition, today knocked the government as “heartless” towards Public servants with its imposition of a 7% salary increase for the past two years.
During a press conference, today, AFC Executive and Member of Parliament Cathy Hughes said the government was keen in its move not to engage the Public service Union because it was aware that the union would reject an increase that is less than the inflation rate.
Hughes also observed that the decision by the government to make the 7% increase across the board, creates an uneven system where those at the higher end of the pay scale stand to benefit while low-income earners will not see any real benefit from the increase.
“To add a mere 7% to the salaries of workers and to take out tax from that increase is heartless in this economic crisis – those with low earnings are the ones that need the most assistance that we should be focusing on,” Hughes said.
Low-income earners are set to receive an average increase of $4,900 to their salaries after taxes are deducted.
The Opposition MP said with the current increase in the cost of living, the increase will be ineffective for many.
“The AFC calls for an immediate adjustment to the income tax threshold, it will allow for low-income earners to have more disposable income and a total review of the income tax rate for all workers and especially for the minimum wage to be raised,” the Former Telecommunications Minister pointed out.
Hughes reminded that the minimum wage saw an increase of over 70% over a four period under the coalition government.
The Guyana Public Service Union and the Guyana Teachers Union have both rejected the imposition of the salary increase, demanding that a better increase be given. The Government has not responded to any of the chatter from the two unions.