CTUSAB’s Response to the Budget of 13 August 2013 – Let’s Talk!

The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) has long recognized the challenges to the Barbados economy as it relates to the fiscal deficit and stagnant growth. The Congress has called for these twin areas of our economic matrix to be tackled, lest the pillars on which our economy is built be fatally undermined.

{PERSONAL FILE IMAGE} The Congress strongly supports the present parity of the exchange rate of the Barbados dollar to the US dollar and the policy position of the Government to maintain public sector job levels; while giving the private sector the opportunity to gear itself to be the engine of growth and thus job creation.

{PERSONAL FILE IMAGE} The Congress strongly supports the present parity of the exchange rate of the Barbados dollar to the US dollar and the policy position of the Government to maintain public sector job levels; while giving the private sector the opportunity to gear itself to be the engine of growth and thus job creation.

Against this background, the Congress notes the revenue raising and revenue substitution measures contained in the budget, and also recognizes the proposals aimed at stimulating growth especially in the tourism sector.

Coming against a background of no increase in public sector pay since 2009, CTUSAB is troubled by the impact that the temporary consolidation tax on gross income of persons earning $50,000 and over per annum will have on workers.

The Minister of Finance has promised that this tax will be in place for nineteen (19) months and hence the Congress expects that at the end of this period the economy will be on a growth path and able to once again provide public workers with increases in salary.

After the eight percent cut of public sector workers pay in 1991, there was a promise to restore the workers’ pay and that was honoured. On this occasion, the Congress expects that similarly, there will be the honouring of the pledge of the implementation of these measures for nineteen months only.

The Congress is mindful of the effect of the expenditure cuts over the coming months on the maintenance of job levels and calls for an immediate implementation mechanism, including consultation in accordance with Section 6.13 (b, c, d & e) of the Protocol VI, which reads:

6.13 The Social Partners also agree that:

(b) where it is perceived in an undertaking that there has to be, for whatever reason, a reduction in the work force or major payroll reductions, the relevant union or staff association, or where no such body exists then the workers themselves, shall be so informed in writing at least two (2) weeks prior to the statutory notice period;

(c) in all instances where major payroll reductions are being considered consequent upon significant changes in production, programme, organisation, structure, technology or otherwise in an undertaking, the reasons for the proposed terminations shall be discussed with the relevant union or staff association, and where there is no such body, the workers themselves, prior to the implementation of any such changes;

(d) any such consultation shall include consideration of ways of avoiding the dismissals, reducing the number of employees to be dismissed and mitigating the consequences of the dismissals;

(e) wherever possible the relevant union or staff association, and where there is no such body, the workers themselves, shall be assisted in obtaining the financial information which forms the basis for discussion in respect of payroll reductions;

The Congress urges Government to enter into dialogue through the Social Partnership to discuss the implementation strategy to roll out initiatives set in the Budget.

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