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Teachers Will Get 5%, Not 4%

Posted By: Marty

Teachers Will Get 5%, Not 4% - 02/28/14 09:51 AM

Two weeks ago, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow told the media that the teachers and the public servants could expect a 4% raise. But today - as his government gets ready to present its new budget next week - he said that figure has been revised. With economic growth coming in at less than one percent when 2.5 percent had been projected - you might expect that raise to go down by a point or two, but today the PM told the media today that it's actually going up!:..

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"We've just gone over the numbers this afternoon and I can tell you that it is clear that the teachers will get 5%; teachers and public officers. We keep saying teachers because they made the most noise - this is teachers and public officers will get by our reckoning 5%, in addition to the 2.5% annual increment. We are looking at 22 million dollars more in salaries to public officers and teachers and by our calculations that represents not less than a 5% salary increase."

That 22 million is coming from increased revenue to government. The deal was that the teachers and public officers would get half of whatever additional revenue government earned. But, the truth is this additional revenue is not from recurrent earnings, the kind earned from taxes and government services, it's the earnings from BTL and IMMARBE. Now those were good this year, but who knows where they'll be next year? It matters because next year government will still be on the hook for the 5% and the unions will likely be asking for another raise. Today the Prime Minister discussed the tax tightrope that government walks:..

Jules Vasquez
"That's the full figure 22 million, you are not only paying it for one year, and so next year when Immarbe perhaps isn't performing as well as it did this year because of the problems in the offshore industry, exogenous though they be. Will the government be able to afford it?"

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"If we don't see the same sort of revenue collection next year while we will be locked in to maintaining the salary increase, the public officers and teachers ought to recognize that ultimately it could well come to a point where we have to ask the rest of the society to sacrifice for them. At the very least they should give back to this society by way of better performance, by way of agreeing to some sort of merit base calculation before you come to talk about any additional salary increase because ultimately this thing must be paid for."

Jules Vasquez
"Sir, but in a sense its like a father of a excuse the term "rude pickney" and the "rude pickney" would ask for anything, but ultimately it's the father who give them and then would like to impose penalties retroactively."

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"No. I like the analogy, but that's why we frame the calculation in a way did. You will get 50% of any additional revenue increase. Going forward, if next year the revenue collection decreases - before we come to the people of this country and say you know what we need to increase your taxes to make up for the revenue shortfall so we can continue to meet this huge wage bill, we would have to look at cutting spending. But anyway you take it; it means a lessening of what is available for the larger society in consequence of this wage increase. We will manage. That's what we've been elected to do and we'll manage, but I did appreciate the opportunity to speak some home truth to the teachers and to the public officers, but we will manage - they'll get their salary increase, it's going to be locked-in, we will find a way to pay it and not just this year but next year and the following year."

The increase is expected ot be the centerpiece of next Friday's budget presentation.

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