UPP leader recommends 10 percent increase for public servants

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The leader of the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) Harold Lovell is of the strong opinion that a 5 percent increase in salaries for public servants represents a small portion of the country’s budget and is quite “insignificant.”
Lovell said that the 5 percent amounts to about $18 million, and while this is doable, a 10 percent increase, amounting to $35 million, would be a more acceptable figure.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne spoke about the 5 percent increase when he presented the 2018 National Budget a week ago.
The former finance minister shared his opinion on Friday, during an interview on OBSERVER AM.
He was responding to a question posed by the host of the programme regarding what percentage increase the UPP would have given public servants if they were in office.
Lovell said outside of cash there are many other benefits which could be offered to government workers.
“The government tried to do some, in terms of the $10,000 housing grant, duty-free and so on,” Lovell said.
According to the UPP leader, the issue of salary increases should not have been prolonged to a point where the government had to impose an amount.
Instead, they should have resolved it a long time ago.
“If the UPP was in office, we would have sat with the public service unions and we would have found ways to satisfy their needs and demands.
“Everything does not have to be done in terms of cash. You have tax waivers, benefit waivers, different things that can be done, in order to make the lives of public sector workers a lot more comfortable. But that has to be achieved through negotiations,” Lovell said.
A week ago, Sandra Williams, president of the Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association, declared that the 5 percent increase was an insult and would make no impact on workers’ lives.
Williams also chastised the prime minister for not following the procedure of consulting with the union before making the announcement.

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