Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo wants the government to offer public servants nothing less than a 50% increase in their salaries this year.
Speaking during the budget debates on Friday, Mr. Jagdeo, whose government mostly offered the public servants 5%, said he believes his 50% proposal is practical when compared to the 50% salary increase received by some government Ministers last year.
All Members of the National Assembly, including Jagdeo, got varying increases to their salaries.
“If Ministers got a 50$ increase on a $500,000 base then at least public servants can get the same… a 50% on a $50,000 to $75, 000 base” he said.
The Opposition Leader has been calling for significant increases for public servants even before the budget was presented.
However, no such increases were offered by the government. The Finance Minister announced that the government is awaiting the completion of the Public Service Commission of Inquiry before those salary increases were offered following consultations with the unions.
But Jagdeo said even as he awaits the public service inquiry report he has no confidence that the recommendations will be implemented.
The Finance Minister did announce measures to improve workers’ income. Jordan said an amendment to the Income Tax Act will be undertaken to increase the income tax threshold to $660,000, from $600,000 yearly, which will translate monthly from $50,000 to $55,000. The government has also committed itself to the collective bargaining agreement with the unions.
Public Servants received salary increases at different rates in the 2015 budget, ranging from 6.0% to 26.4%. Additionally, every part time hourly paid cleaner received $313 per hour, reflecting a 54% increase. All Public Servants making less than $500,000 per month were also given a $50,000 grant at the end of December, 2015. (Kurt Campbell)