A&BUT wants talks over wage increase for teachers to be fast-tracked

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Emphasising that a 5 percent wage increase is inadequate, the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (A&BUT) says that it is looking forward to negotiating a reasonable increase for public school teachers.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced the 5 percent increase for public servants last Thursday during the budget presentation.
Ashworth Azille, president of A&BUT stated yesterday that: “clearly the 5 percent does not make any significant impact on the pay cheque of most workers. Over the last couple of years, the take-home pay would have been eroded as a result of increases in Medical Benefit contributions and other taxes.”
The union is seeking a 25 percent increase and the prime minister has promised that negotiations will take place and the interim increase will not prejudice upcoming talks.
The workers’ advocate said that the union made the proposal in December, taking into consideration the rate of inflation and the average cost of living.
“We are just trying to get our membership back to a position where they can feel as though they are taking home something that can meaningfully take care of their families. It will never be enough, and achieving a higher standard of living through wage increases will never be sufficient,” Azille said.
Meantime, Azille said that the government may want to suggest that the 5 percent be included in the final numbers which the union is not against.
However, the A&BUT is not supportive of employers “attempting to circumvent the negotiation process.”
Over the weekend, another union, the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association (ABPSA), labelled the 5 percent as an insult to workers.
Sandra Williams, general secretary of the ABPSA, blasted the prime minister for offering the wage increase without consulting with the union.
 

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