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Grenadian government signs new wage agreement with teachers

The Grenada government says it has reached an agreement with the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) providing for four per cent increase in salaries for teachers over the period 2020 to 2022.

A government statement said that the agreement as signed on Wednesday by representatives of Government’s Negotiating Team (GNT) and the GUT and that the increases when compounded, amounts to approximately 12.5 per cent.

“The agreement was reached after intense but cordial discussions. Both parties have expressed satisfaction that the negotiations were conducted amicably,” the statement noted.

“This effectively amounts to a five per cent increase for 2020. Further to this, all retired members of the GUT will have their pension increased by four per cent from January 1, 2020.”

– Trade, Industry, Cooperatives and CARICOM Affairs Minister, Oliver Joseph

It quoted Trade, Industry, Cooperatives and CARICOM Affairs Minister, Oliver Joseph, who also led the GNT as saying that “the agreement reached with the GUT illustrates government’s willingness to negotiate in good faith.”

The statement said that the GUT’s negotiating team also welcomed the settlement saying it was fair and reasonable in the current economic circumstances.

Trade, Industry, Cooperatives and CARICOM Affairs Minister, Oliver Joseph
(Photo: habepa.gov.ag/ )

“The GNT revealed that the cost of salary increases amounts to EC$43.5 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) over the three-year period. In addition to the financial implications of the settlement with the GUT, the GNT noted that government will see a significant increase in personnel related costs with effect from January, 2020, as the state is expected to pay an additional one per cent to the NIS (National Insurance Scheme) on behalf of each worker.

“This effectively amounts to a five per cent increase for 2020. Further to this, all retired members of the GUT will have their pension increased by four per cent from January 1, 2020,” the statement said, noting that “this agreement with the GUT comes at an enormous cost to the taxpayers of the country”.

“This effectively amounts to a five per cent increase for 2020. Further to this, all retired members of the GUT will have their pension increased by four per cent from January 1, 2020.”

– Grenada Union of Teachers

The GUT is one of three trade unions representing more than 6,000 public servants. The joint negotiations between the GNT and the Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) have been declared deadlock after the third rounds of talks.

In the statement, the government noted that in reaching the agreement with the GUT it also had to satisfy “the primary expenditure rule which has been yielding tremendous results for the country”.

The Fiscal Responsibility Law mandates that the government’s wage bill cannot exceed nine per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in any year while the primary expenditure rule says that the government cannot exceed two per cent more than the previous year.

Joseph, had earlier claimed that the unions were insisting on a near 25 per cent increase in pay, without “providing a shred of written justification for their demands”.

But in a statement, the PWU said that despite the failure of the GNT to deliver on its promise to return to the bargaining table with a revised salary proposal, the unions including the TAWU “offered a new, revised proposal to the GNT, scaling back on its original proposal for salary increases for the period 2020-22.

“The unions have therefore, revised its original proposals of seven, eight and eight per cent for 2020 to 2022 respectively, to reflect an improved proposal for the three year period as follows: 2020 -6.5 per cent, 2021- 7.5 per cent and 2022- eight per cent” and had proposed a meeting with the GNT.

-CMC