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Civil service strike looms

by Staff reporter
05 Dec 2018 at 05:42hrs | Views
CIVIL servants yesterday threatened to down tools if government failed to reverse its austerity measures, including partial payment of bonus and payment of customs duty in foreign currency.

In a joint Press briefing yesterday, Health Services Apex Council chairperson, Enock Dongo and his civil service counterpart, Cecilia Alexander, said the situation currently obtaining in the country, particularly their conditions of service, demanded that government adjusts some of its policies.

This came at a time the economic situation in the country is worsening, forcing many companies to rationalise and turn to desperate means of survival.

"The Health and Civil Servants Apex Council jointly demand for a revision of some of the 2019 budget proposals by the Minister of Finance," Alexander said.

"It is our position that any further move to implement the said proposals will certainly cause disharmony between ourselves and the employer and may in the end defeat the government's well-intentioned objective to stabilise the economy."

She said they were not consulted on the budget, a violation of Section 65 of the Constitution which guarantees government employees the right to consult and be consulted.

"The decision to pay a bonus based on basic salary is unacceptable to us and amounts to a withdrawal of a benefit, much against the law. The same applies to the 5% cut on the salaries of senior civil servants," Alexander said.

Civil servants also demanded salaries in foreign currency and an adjustment to the cost of living allowances.

"If workers are going to pay duty in forex, it follows that salaries should be paid in forex. This proposal on forex will have the effect of excluding civil servants from buying vehicles and some foodstuffs. Our salaries are in RTGS (real time gross settlement), customs duty is in US dollar. If we convert our salaries to US dollar on the parallel market we get jailed for 10 years," Alexander said.

"The budget does not at all mention a cost of living adjustment, which is an urgent matter given the massive erosion of our incomes since the continuous surge in prices of basic goods and service," Alexander said.

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Source - newsday

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