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Good Deal for Public Servants
Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

By Stephen Kangal
April 12, 2011

PSA President, HRH The Duke of Abercombry Street must be commended for negotiating and successfully concluding a new, ground-breaking template in industrial wage and benefits agreement on behalf of public servants. Various allowances and COLA have been consolidated into the base wage prior to the 5% increase.

In the past when the PSA achieved high percentage increases exclusively as a basis for new wage settlements the merchants automatically increased the prices of their goods and services according to this percentage increase and the BIR made a killing on additional income taxes. The Public servants were no better off at the end of the agreement having lost the agreed increase to the merchants and the tax-man.

I have always supported PSA wage negotiations that are premised on negotiating increases in allowances and a package of employee benefits that are non-taxable. This is a real increase in the standard of living. Accordingly I welcome the Health Plan, increased upkeep allowances, insurance benefits and the housing plan on top of the five percent salary increase. The benefits package may very well result in a 30% increase or more. Other unions can now negotiate benefits packages and downplay the percentage salary increases that are sometimes taxable at 50%.

The PSA must negotiate a housing plan that provides for Government to make state lands available for the PSA to undertake its own housing settlements in addition to those to be available under the HDC. The PSA can also then make housing plots available to public servants to supervise the building of their own personalized homes on HMB loan arrangements using small builders and artisans to ensure sound construction standards and provide business to local hard-ware dealers. This will help to kick-start the languishing but important construction industry.

The PSA/CPO has set a new bench-mark for public sector salary negotiations.

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