After the Joint Councils of the three unions; APSSM, BNTU and PSU met with the Prime Minister of Belize and the relevant Cabinet Ministers on Friday of last week to consider a salary adjustment; features of the Salary Adjustment Proposal were released. The main ones being:
1) Proposed Salary Adjustment will be based on a formula of actual recurrent revenue out-turn FY2012/2013 being the starting base year for comparison.
2. The Agreement is proposed to cover financial years 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17.
3. The maximum salary adjustment in any single year will not exceed 10% of the Wages and Wage Related Grants.
4. Salary Adjustment payout will commence in July 2014 retroactive to 1st April 2014.
But what do the proposals really mean? That’s the question that we asked George Myvett, immediate past president of the APSSM.
The Prime Minister on his side of the table has basically said that pay raise April 1, which is the up-coming Financial Year, is not affordable. In the meeting that we had, we obviously looked at the facts and the figures, and our side was convinced that under the circumstances, and given the offer that we worked out, because it was an offer that was just on the table, the offer from their side, we actually ended up in a position where we were saying we believe the salary adjustment, going into the year 2014 Financial Year would be 2014/2015, that is where the salary adjustment would kick in.
Myvett was also asked to speak on the specific economic terms on which the salary adjustment hinge.
It’s really based on the performance of the economy; the economy’s growth. We have been saying that, obviously based on the Government side figures, the economy is projected to grow a certain percentage. What our position has been premised on is that; obviously there was slow growth, but based on what Mr Castellanos and other economists have been saying, the economy has been growing by 7%. The Prime Minister has said that we’re projecting a similar growth for next year. The economists on our side of the table have agreed with that. You have to really look at performance in the past. Relevant also is economic growth in 2012/2013.
Myvett also commented on allegations that the unions were not fully functional at Friday’s meeting due to Castellanos’ sudden resignation.
Really, the point was made made earlier that Mr Castellanos has departed from the Negotiating team. I want to make the point that we had in that negotiating room on Friday, we recruited two economists and an accountant on our side. So, we were not lacking, in terms of having bodies there would have been conversant with what the Government side was saying, certainly within the discipline of economics and accounting.
The Joint Councils’ are expected to release a statement tomorrow concerning Governments proposals after having met with their membership.