The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) says it strongly objects to a massive salary increase for cabinet ministers and members of parliament (MP), which was announced on Tuesday by the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
It is an about-turn from the party’s earlier stance, immediately after the announcement in Parliament, when Opposition Spokesman on Finance Julian Robinson said “The Opposition takes no issue with what the minister has announced.”
In a statement on Wednesday morning, the Opposition said the salary increase was done without the government first having satisfactorily addressed the serious disaffection of many dedicated teachers, nurses, police officers and other civil servants arising out of the flawed public sector compensation restructuring exercise.
“This decision was made by the Government, without any consultation with the Opposition other than to seek our political non-objection to the decision when it was already made,” the statement read.
It went on to say that Jamaica’s public servants have “tirelessly served our nation, often under difficult circumstances, and are deserving of fair and equitable compensation for their contribution to the nation.”
Noting that the recent salary restructuring for public servants has left many of them feeling marginalised and under-valued, the PNP stated that the government’s failure to address their concerns while “lavishly rewarding cabinet ministers and members of parliament a massive increase, in what is a clear demonstration of misplaced priorities.”
“While some parliamentarians work diligently and deserve an increase in remuneration, it is morally indefensible to grant such a significant raise while so many of our dedicated public servants have seriously lost out and are utterly demoralised by the lack of equity in the recent salary restructuring,” the statement continued, adding that, “In light of this situation, the PNP demands that the government immediately return to the negotiation table with the unions representing public servants.”
The Opposition said the government must recognise its responsibility to deliver a fair and just remuneration package for all public servants, before seeking to look after the interests of the political class.
READ: Salaries soar • Big pay increase for political directorate, permanent secretaries
On Tuesday, it was announced that the deputy prime minister’s pay will move from the current $8.031 million as at April 2021, to $20.099 million effective April 2022, and $22.7 million with effect from April 2023, then increase to $25.729 million effective 2024.
Meanwhile, the finance minister’s salary is being bumped up from the current $7.440 million as at April 2021, to $19.206 million effective April 2022, then to $21.7 million effective April 2023, after which it will increase to $24.585 million effective April 2024.
The Opposition leader’s existing salary of $8.031 million will increase to $20.099 million effective April 2022, moving to $22.740 million effective April 2023, after which it will increase to $25.729 million effective April 2024.
Cabinet ministers will continue to earn $52.00 more than the maximum salary of permanent secretaries, moving from $6.893 million in 2021, to $17.866 million effective April 2022, and $20.214 million effective April 2023, then move to $22.87 million effective April 2024.
Permanent secretaries (level 15) salaries will go from $17.8 million, effective April 2022 to $20.214 million effective April 2023, then move to $22.870 million effective April 2024.
Following the announcement, Robinson noted that the Opposition takes “no issue” with the salary increase but urged the government to urgently address “discrepancies” in salaries for civil servants who have been granted increases “so that everyone can benefit from the new compensation package.
“But we take no issue,” Robinson reiterated.
Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.
Contact us at [email protected]