A couple couple news items today has given the BU household reason for pause. President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) stated that his union will hold the government to its promise not to engage in privatization that will result in public workers going home. One wonders how any government can guarantee anything in a global market which is challenging for service-based economies. Again, one wonders how the NUPW can be so simplistic in their expectations, we shall see. BU’s disclosure is that we wish no public servant to be sent home to suffer the same fate of thousands in the private sector.
The second news item was that the government of St. Lucia has agreed to pay a 4% wage hike to public servants instead of 6% which dropped from 16%. The punch line came from Prime Minister Kenny Anthony when he explained, “As I have explained before, the returns from VAT are below expectations and will not cover the increase in expenditure. We have no option but to borrow this money”.
What are missing here? At a time governments are borrowing monthly to pay wages yet our governments agree to wage increases and guarantee public sector jobs? Is this an ironclad promise that government will protect public workers until NIS funds run dry. If these economies do not improve what are the options?
BU has deliberately not mentioned the IMF restructure of USD750.00 agreed with Jamaica this month. Why do Barbadians believe that our rampant consumption lifestyle is not threatened by the current state of play? What must be clear is that to maintain government’s Medium Fiscal Strategy (MTFS) program it has to also find a way to grow the economy.