Public servants are better off than they were pre-2015

Dear Editor,

I have always looked with amusement at how politicians use Christmas bonuses as a social bribe for public servants. In 2015, over 30,000 public servants benefited from a $50,000 bonus; in 2016, they got $25,000. Though a ‘top up’ may look good, we should look at incremental measures that provide a permanent fix for the low wages over many years. Before 2015, we were told “5% and no more”!

In 2015, the year of the coalition government taking the reins of office, public servants began receiving an increased minimum wage of $50,000; those who received more than that sum benefited from a 5% increase, plus $5,000 more monthly, with effect from July, just two months into office. This meant that over 4,000 public servants, earning a minimum wage of $42,703, received a 17.1% increase. For those who were taking home $39,540, they benefited from a 26.4% increase.

Editor, in 2016, the public servants again received a hike in their salary. Those government employees earning less than $99,000 received a 6% increase while those earning more, received less.  The emphasis here is to show that the lower levels received more.

Now this trend has been continuing, with the lower categories again benefiting more. This year, public servants are set to receive an increase in the minimum wage, which is now set at $60,000. Additionally, those earning less than $99,999 will benefit from an 8% increase, retroactive to January 2017. Other categories are also to benefit from increases, albeit less.  These will see the treasury dipping by $3.5 billion.

If there is anything on which I could judge this government, it would be on salaries for public servants. And while it is not where we want it to be, we are better off than pre-2015.

I am impressed.

Yours faithfully,
Cynthia Rutherford
Youths for Change

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