The Antigua and Barbuda Public Service Association (ABPSA) has outrightly rejected government’s proposal of a one month salary to cover outstanding back pay. The union is asking for three times that amount.
Gaston Browne, prime minister, placed the offer on the table in January when he presented the national budget.
Browne at the time cited financial constraints which the government was encountering and pledged that work will be done to calculate the outstanding amount that is owed the workers.
In light of this, he proposed that every public servant who was employed by the government from December 31, 2002, would receive a one month and a half month basic salary free of deductions.
However, during a meeting on Thursday with the workers it represents, the ABPSA said it was not pleased with the offer, and by Friday a letter was submitted to the government’s negotiation team indicating such.
Joan Peters, president of the ABPSA, said civil servants cannot accept less than three months’ salary in lieu of back pay which dates back to some 17 years.
She said approximately $128 million is owed to people employed within the general civil service.
“If we get one month’s salary, it means the workers will lose. When we crunched the numbers based on what is outstanding and what they are offering, less than three months is going to drop us below the threshold.
“They [the negotiating team] wrote to us last week and we wrote back to them on Friday after we met with the workers and got the mandate from them regarding the three months’ salary,” Peters said.