The Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) has welcomed Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre’s announcement that his administration will honor the former government’s promise and pay salary hikes to public servants by the end of April.
“Having to study what’s happening in the economy in terms of inflation and what is also happening in Ukraine and other countries, that came to me as welcome news,” CSA President Cyprian Montrope told St Lucia Times.
” I am sure all my members are exceedingly happy knowing that they will be able to cushion some of the inflationary measures around them right now,” he expressed.
.Montrope indicated that the decision to defer the one percent was to provide the then administration with an opportunity to save money as the country dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and other matters affecting the economy.
“We would have entered into that agreement in July of 2021 with the previous government and we were monitoring what was happening with the economy in terms of when it was going to improve and when the government would pay us,” Montrope explained.
He asserted that it’s not a new increase to public servants but the outcome of negotiations that were coming to an end in 2021.
“We undertook to save out jobs by not asking government for any imposition of the one percent increase at the time but to defer that until April of 2022,” the CSA President told St Lucia Times.
On the issue of potential salary hikes for others sectors, Montrope said there was a need to look at who are the drivers of the economy.
He declared that public officers are usually the first ones required to make a sacrifice and the only ones who sacrifice in hard times.
“As you would have remembered the government would have asked us to take a fifty percent cut in our pay and receive the other fifty percent in bonds. These were the first set of persons being asked to sacrifice on behalf of the entire country. So while the state if collecting tax revenue and the tax revenue needs to be spent in the public domain, the public officers are the first to be asked to take the brunt of whatever pain within the public spending first,” the CSA President declared.
As a result, he expressed that it should be good news if the government now decides to pay the public officers the increase.
The CSA official also responded to social media criticism that public officers generally perform poorly on the job and do not deserve a salary hike, asserting that the notion is global and not limited to Saint Lucia.
“That private sector is better than government – the world over has shown that there is no evidence to support that. The country grows because the public service functions effectively,” Montrope stated.
And he noted that in every institution, there would be ‘one or two’ individuals who would not pull their weight.
According to Montrope, because one person is dissatisfied with the service, everyone else in the institution is classified as non-performing.
“That is an unacceptable notion and we know that if the public service is as the public is describing it, the country would not be where it is today,” he said.
“By and large the public officers are extremely, and I want to repeat the word, extremely hardworking and dedicated workers. We know that in our midst there would be one or two who will probably fall by the wayside but in the main the majority of public officers are hardworking individuals,” Montrope told St Lucia Times.