THE GRENADA GOVERNMENT appears to be shifting its position on salary negotiations with the public sector joint negotiating team. The unions announced this week that Labour Minister Oliver Joseph has informed them that government has accepted one of four options given last week, to settle salary negotiations, which have been dragging on for months.
Joseph informed the unions that they are willing to consider the third option put forward, which calls for part payment of $1000.00 on their request for $3000.00 as a one-off in place of wage increases for three years since 2014, with written agreement that the balance, $2000.00 would be paid after discussions in July.
One of the other options called for government bonds with a maturity of one year plus interest. Another of the four options was a hike in the percentage increases for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has said under the Structural Adjustment Programme the country cannot afford to pay the amount demanded.
The country’s Structural Adjustment Programme comes to an end in June and the Prime Minister has said the purse strings will be loosened once Grenada exits the programme.
Up to last week government remained unbending in their refusal to pay workers the full $3000.00 and union requests that the payment be made in tranches had also been rejected.
However government now seems set to sign off on the new offer but the unions said they have a problem with one more issue.
A news release from the unions’ negotiation team said that at an emergency session Tuesday the union found that, “the Minister in his consideration included a phrase which does not find favour with the unions”. The unions have since written to the minister requesting the removal of the offending phrase and demanded that a response be given by midday yesterday. Public workers have been on high alert for weeks and are at the red ribbon stage of protest over government’s handling of the negotiations.