Prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, is offering public servants a five percent increase in salaries while at the same time is challenging leader of the United Workers Party (UWP), Lennox Linton to make public the source of funding for salary increase offered by the UWP.
“I call on Lennox Linton tonight to say where his proposed increase in salaries would come from,” Skerrit told supporters at a Dominica Labour Party (DLP) rally in Riviere Cyrique on Wednesday on night.
The government and various trade unions on the island have been at loggerheads for months on the matter of increase in salaries for public servants for the period 2012 to 2015.
The government had initially offered 0, 0, 0 percent for the period but the offer was turned down. The offer was slightly increased to 1, 0, 0 but that was also turned down.
But Skerrit said with assistance from “friendly governments” the offer now stands at 3, 1, 1 percent; a total of 5 percent for the three-year period.
He did not name the “friendly governments.”
“Under Labour, Dominica has friends and Dominica has well wishers,” Skerrit stated. “We have done the maths and for the last four months we have had ongoing discussions with friendly governments on the issue of budget support for Dominica. This country is not yet out of the woods economically and I am not minded to increase the levels of direct taxation on the workers of Dominica. Therefore, I laid my cards out to two friendly governments, in particular, and I am pleased this evening to announce that within the last 48 hours I have had direct pledges from two friendly governments to assist with the issue of budgetary support come next year.”
He said he has already spoken to officials for the different unions “and indicated to them the pledges I have received and the liquidity that should exist as a result of an increase in revenue, I was in a position to change the government’s offer of 0, 0, 0 percent over the next three years.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am therefore delighted to be in a position tonight to announce to you and to the country, that effective Thursday the fourth day of December 2014, the government’s offer to public service unions, and therefore by extension to all public servants in Dominica, shall be three percent in the first year, one percent in the second year and one percent in the third year. This amounts ladies and gentlemen to a five percent increase of your present salary as public officers.”
Skerrit called on Linton to make public his source of funds for salary increase to public servants. The UWP had promised to increase salaries by 1.5, 1.5, and 3 percent if voted into office.
“Don’t tell me nonsense about when you get in you will see,” he stated. “This is not a game of chance, this is not a lucky dip. If you are offering public workers an increase in salary, tell us tonight where the money is coming from…”
He said the DLP knows where every cent is coming from for its programs and policies.
“Lennox Linton and the workers party have four days to put up or shut up,” Skerrit said.
Attempts to contact the various trade unions on Thursday morning on the latest offer proved futile.