Unions and PM discuss indexation

POSTED: 09/14/12 2:56 PM

St. Maarten  Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot-Williams met with the consultative organization for civil servants GOA on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the cost of living index.

The meeting included numerous union representatives, both the official union members of the GOA and other unions, representing government personnel, who are not (yet) members.

“I have indicated on several occasions that I do not want the matter to go the same way it went with the last pay-out. The matter of the indexation of salaries is part of a policy and government can and should make this decision on a yearly basis given the financial constraints or possibilities. The government wants to look at adjusting salaries in accordance with the inflation and increased prices not only in terms of indexation of salaries, but also in terms of the overall cost of living; everybody is affected by this. Therefore government wants to approach it from a more comprehensive perspective,” the prime minister said ahead of that meeting during the weekly Council of Ministers press briefing.

 

During the GOA session, union representatives had the opportunity to table their initial reactions.

The prime minister said that the current indexation system would lead to serious financial consequences, and would be untenable. This is due to the way the indexation is currently calculated; the cost of living increase is granted to compensate for the full cost of living index every year and every year it becomes a structural part of the salaries, which means that salaries are adjusted on top of the indexation of the year before.

“This has consequences for pensions and all other aspects that relate to the base salaries. The bottom line is that even if we were to find ourselves in better economic times, we cannot meet those structural adjustments of public salaries.   We need to talk about the indexation’s future as part of the broader discussion of public servants’ entitlements. I expect the members of the GOA to put their heads together and to come up with proposals,” Wescot-Williams said.

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