As the political campaign season kicks in, the People’s National Congress Reform which is part of the coalition government, is taking note of the promises being made by its main opponent, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
One such promise made so far by the PPP/C is to restore the joint services bonus. But PNCR is of the strong view that it is just another hypocritical promise being made by a party that wants to return to power.
PNCR Executive Aubrey Norton told media operatives at the party’s weekly press briefing today that what the PPP/C is calling a joint service bonus, is a scheme that was devised by them, to divide public servants by giving them low wages, while giving a one-month salary to the joint services so that they felt contended.
“The PPP never admitted that the so-called bonus was bogus. In the first place, the salaries of the joint services like all other public servants were kept shamefully low. While the end of year payout had the appearance of the recipient doing better, the fact is they were not,” he opined.
Norton did not stop there but went on to explain that what the PPP failed to explain to members of the joint service was that when they get a bonus, their salaries do not increase and in the long term, they are worse off, since their pension and other benefits do not increase with a bonus.
“Pensions and allowances only go up with increases in wages and salaries…Under the APNU/AFC, the joint services will continue to receive real increases in wages, salaries, allowances and better working conditions,” he said while stating that the coalition Government will not allow the joint service to be conned.
The PNCR executive went on to state that members of the joint services can look forward to a better life after retirement. He said the decision taken by the coalition Government to pay substantial salary increases will result in each one of them receiving much higher pensions and other benefits.
According to him, salaries for junior ranks in the services have increased by more than 60 percent and all ranks have benefited from significant increases in wages and salaries.
Only recently, President David Granger announced an increase in salaries for all public servants including those in the joint services, which will see them receiving tax-free retroactive payments.
Public servants’ minimum wage will be increased to $70,000 from $64,220 per month. This represents a nine percent increase for 2019 and an overall increase of seventy-seven percent since the APNU+AFC Coalition Government entered office in 2015 when the minimum wage stood at $39,540.
President Granger had also announced that Public servants earning between $100,000 and under $1 million per month will receive an 8.5% increase, while those earning less than $100,000 will also receive a 9% increase in their salaries.
The President explained that Public servants earning a minimum wage of $64,220 will receive, in their December pay cheque an extra $69,336, which is a sum in excess of their base salaries. All of the increases will be retroactive to January 2019 and the back pay will be tax-free.