NNP Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique stated, “The Government of Grenada’s demand to defer the 4% salary increase due in 2021 will cost more than if Government repaid the agreed-upon increments on the respective time.
According to the officials, given the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing widespread impact, Government is, at this point, unable to determine the exact period of deferral.
Talking to the officials, However, any delayed payment means that intensified interest will apply, and the burden of retroactive pay arises. According to Oliver Joseph, Head of the Government’s Negotiating Team, “it is the first time since Government returned to office in 2013 that it will have to resort to retroactive payments.”
Deputy Chair of the Government’s Negotiating Team, Ms. Rhonda Jones, stated that, Suspending the pay is not in the best interest of the Government. That is simply because we have worked very hard over the last few years to move from a situation where we have to make back payments for personnel expense.”
Furthermore, adding on this point, she stated, “That was a very injurious period in our financial history. We managed to, fortunately, move away from that type of discussion, and we are now at the point where we were able to project and budget for pay upsurge that would come in the three-year cycle.”
The 4% wage/salary increase for public officers will add $13.2 million to Government’s annual wage bill, at a rate of about $1.1 million per month. Ms. Jones explained that the actual cost of wage/salary increases goes beyond the additional money public servants receive.
According to the Ministry of Finance’s Statistics, and shared with the trade unions, the 4% increase will bring Government’s wage bill for 2021 to $337.6 million, up from $324.4 million in 2020. Similarly, pension payments would increase from $46.3 in 2020 to $48.1 million in 2021 and NIS contributions from $14.1 million to $14.6 million.
Grenada’s government first engaged the unions in 2020 when it examined the pandemic’s result on revenue collection connected with the unplanned expenditure and concluded that it would be a challenge to meet the supplementary recurrent spending. At a meeting of the social partners on Tuesday afternoon, the 4% increase was also an agenda item.
Consequently, Prime Minister, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell assured attendees that in seeking a deferral, the Government is not questioning the legitimacy of the increase for public officers. Instead, it is pursuing some thought of the Government’s inability to raise recurrent expenditure when the coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected its revenue collection.