PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto disclosed that late Monday evening Government presented another proposal as unions rejected the proposal of January 30 with respect to the issue of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2006, 2007 and 2009.
The cost of living adjustment will cost Government Naf.15 million retroactive to January 1, 2011. Retroactive payment cannot realistically be made until the 2011 budget gets a positive advice from the CFT. Since this is not the case, the Government just cannot commit to this payment until it has had the time to amend the budget which first has to be accepted, Minister of Finance Shigemoto explained.
"Government is of the opinion that with this offer we have gone as far as we legally can go with the retroactive payment of the COLA especially when considering the constraints of the financial situation as it pertains to the budget.
"Also the Ministry of Justice has made an analysis of the employees who for whatever reason has not gotten paid thus far. Those persons will be paid within short and the ministry has also provided the indexed scales which now reflect the 2% COLA most civil servants and teachers received this January.
"The ministry will inform the Finance Department when they would like to have this difference paid out. Seemingly there is a split in preference for either within short or end of the month.
"Government is also setting up a help desk to assist with the logging of errors made in January 2011 payroll, which were across the board including the Council of Ministers’ salaries. An operational audit will help to determine why so many errors were made but more importantly what can be done to avoid a recurrence," the Honourable Minister of Finance Hiro Shigemoto explained late Monday evening.
The unions also submitted a proposal on Monday to Government while the latter has made a counter proposal; here are both proposals:
The Resolutions coming out of the joint meeting of the WICSU-PSU,WITU and ABVO St. Maarten, which was held at the L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium on January 31, 2011.
Be it resolved that:
The membership of the WICSU-PSU, WITU and ABVO St. Maarten rejects the Proposal by the Honorable Minister of Finance Mr. H. Shigemoto dated January 30, 2011 to accept the payment of the balance of 3.3 % Cost of Living Adjustment per July 1, 2011. However, the members have agreed to accept the balance of 3.3% Cost of Living Adjustment payment (which would bring it to 5.3% over the years 2006, 2007 & 2009) in March 1, 2011, under the following conditions:
The payment will be retroactive per January1 ", 2011, to all civil servants teachers including teachers of the subsidized schoolboards (Police and Coastguard staff).
By omission of payment of the retroactive pay with the March 1, 2011 salaries to the civil servants teachers including teachers of the subsidized schoolboards (Police and
Coastguard staff) will then receive legal interest on the money owed for Cost of Living Adjustment of the years 2006 ,2007 & 2009 and a penalty fee of ANG 250, 00 to each
civil servant, teacher including teachers of the subsidized school boards( Police and Coastguard staff).
Be it also resolved that the membership has decided to continue with its deliberations until a commitment has been reached by government to pay the total balance of the
3.3% of the Cost of Living Adjustment of 2006, 2007 and 2009 to all civil servants, teachers including teachers of the subsidized school boards (Police and Coastguard staff) by March 1, 2011, retroactively.
The Unions will not accept any reprisal to their members for coming to the meetings held during working hours. As it was Government that disregarded the decision of August 25th,
2010, BC 240810 agenda point 23 to pay all civil servants teachers including teachers of the Subsidized school boards (Police and Coastguard staff) on January 1, 2011 .
The Government resolves:
The government has taken due note of the resolution mentioned above and resolves the following:
1. That the cost of living adjustment for the remaining 3,3% over the years 2006, 2007, and 2009 retroactive to January 1, 2011 will be paid out in July 2011 with the salaries of July 2011 to all civil servants including teachers and teachers of the subsidized school boards, Police and Coastguards.
2. That the retroactive payment for the period January 2011 up to and including June 2011 will also be paid out with the salaries of July 2011 without interest and without any fees for late payment to all civil servants including teachers and teachers of the subsidized school boards, Police and Coastguards.
3. That all three Unions will advise that all of their members return to work immediately and that if they do not return to work immediately that government’s "No work, No Pay policy will take effect immediately.