President of the Public Service Association Watson Duke is urging public servants who have not received a pay increase since 2013, particularly those who support the ruling People’s National Movement not to vote in the upcoming Local Government Elections.
At a press conference yesterday, the outgoing PSA president expressed dismay that despite the Government making announcements for pay increases for minimum wage workers, on the job trainees and CEPEP and Unemployment Relief Programme participants, there had been no increase tabled for public servants.
“The minister finds it quite comfortable to say On the Job Training persons would be given a 10 per cent increase in salary and they intend to take on an additional 8,000 persons. We say happy, we are glad. Take on more persons, pay them more money they deserve to be paid more. OJT they have no union fighting for them, they are oftentimes advantaged so we are happy they are getting something,” said Duke.
He added: “Why is it that this PNM Government cannot get the metric right and understand the civil servers of this country. The public servers of this country, The Police (Service) the Fire (Service), the WASA, the T&TEC, the Airport Authority, Civil Aviation, Agriculture Development Bank. Every single worker in this country deserves an increase. And you can’t start with just OJT, CEPEP, Minimum, URP and just leave the rest.”
“They are fixing everybody else but the main essential service they are not fixing,” said Duke at the conference at the PSA building in Port-of-Spain.
“With one month and a little bit to go, six years, all of 2019. They would have given us no increase and they allowed the money for public officers which was standing at some 100 per cent purchasing power in December 2013 to now regressed. It has now regressed by some 30 per cent. Or more, some 30 per cent it has regressed to and the government is saying to us they have nothing to say on this matter. They are completely silent, said Duke.
Duke said he was happy the other groups got increases in the budget, particularly the OJT group, but was surprised that with the announcement of these increases, there was no talk of an adjustment for public servants.