Prime Minister Gaston Browne has called on unions representing public servants to accept his government’s “final offer” for the settlement of long overdue back pay.
The unions want three months salary with no deductions, but Browne says his government can only afford to pay two months.
He estimated that the two months payment to the thousands of civil servants owed would run in the region of 75 million dollars.
“We don’t have the money. That is the reality,” said Browne, who is also Minister of Finance.
“What we are trying to do here is make this good faith payment so at least we can move forward and forget about all the arrears that were not honoured by previous administrations.”
“So we said to them ‘look, we’ll give you one month’. They [in turn] said three. And we’ve now come up with a final offer of two months,” the Prime Minister told Pointe FM.
He urged for common sense to prevail because to, “push us to three months… we cant pay it because we don’t have it.”
“So again, I just hope they will exercise some level of restraint and to understand that what my government is trying to do here is resolve an outstanding issue,” he added.
Negotiations for salary increases are running alongside negotiations to clear the outdated back pay still owed to civil servants.