Government announces civil service salary cuts as part of austerity measures. This circular letter from the Department of Public Administration to all public servants has just been sent to me for comment. I have not checked with anyone to make sure it is authentic. I take it on trust as the source is dependable. I have read it.
Department of Public Administration
GOVERNMENT CIRCULAR NO. 4 OF 8 JUNE 2009
TO: Permanent Secretaries
Hon. Attorney General
All Public Officers
H E, The Governor (for information)
Ministers of Government (for information)
On Wednesday June 3, 2009 Executive Council agreed to the following for a period of six months in the first instance, effective July 1, 2009, to sharply reduce expenditure:-
(i) the figures for travel allowance categories A to E will be as follows:-
($225.00, $175.00, $125.00, $75.00, $62.50 respectively);
Council further agreed that travel allowance categories should be continuously reviewed to ensure that officers are placed in the correct categories.
(ii) telephone allowance will remain at the current reduced level;
(iii) salary payments be reduced by the amounts set out below:-
a) Hon Deputy Governor, Hon Attorney
General and Public Officers in grades A-F - 10%
Public Officers in grades G-M - 5%
Public Officers in grades A-F who did not receive the 25% salary increase in September 2008 should have the increase actually received reduced using the following formula to determine the percentage reduction (10 ÷ 25 x % increase in salary actually received in September 2008 = % amount current salary to be reduced by). This is proposed exceptionally on moral grounds particularly as persons would have made financial commitments based on their prior salary. This exception must not be construed as giving affected persons any rights or benefits that they would not have otherwise accrued.
b) All elected Members of HoA - 15% (of ministerial and HoA allowances)
Speaker and Nominated Members - 5%
Specialist Worker - 10%
Wage Workers - 5%
(iv) pensioners will not be affected by any reductions;
(v) officers retiring during the temporary salary suspension period will be afforded their retirement benefits (gratuity and pension) based on their current salary and not at the reduced salary;
(vi) all officers including “contract” officers will be subject to the temporary suspension of benefits;
Council noted that the
Public Administration acknowledges the historic nature of these measures and the personal sacrifice officers will be required to make. However, it is hoped that public officers will recognize the seriousness of the situation and understand that the measures being instituted come after considerable deliberation.
Public Administration continues to urge officers, especially at this time, to remain vigilant in the collection of government revenues, be professional in the performance of designated duties and practice sound work ethics.
Director Human Resource Management
Copy – Honourable Deputy Governor
Here are my comments.
First, let me say that everyone in
The memorandum makes it clear, if only by inference, that the proposed reduction was determined on by the Executive Council without discussion with either the public service or their representatives. There is no question of seeking to obtain the consent of the civil servants whose salaries will be affected. They are being told of a decision that has been made. The decision is “effective July 1”, by which I understand that salaries will be cut from July 2009. The lack of consultation and the failure even to try to secure prior agreement is unbelievably inconsiderate and unacceptable if true. Tell me which employer in
The third paragraph from the bottom, with the words “commit to giving back the suspended funds”, etc, makes it clear that the Executive Council believes that it has the right to take away the proposed salary cuts permanently. This is not guaranteed to be a temporary suspension, it is to be a possibly permanent cut in salary. That is contrary to section 7 of the Constitution of Anguilla. This letter infringes the “property rights” section of the Constitution, and as such is illegal.
One thing that is guaranteed to get me really vexed is when I see government not bothering to take legal advice on a matter of great importance and obvious contention such as this. This proposal is the wholesale cutting of salaries. That is a matter of great importance of obvious contention. There are civil servants who are already living at the limit of their means. There are house mortgages, car loans, university loans, vacation loans, and personal loans for furniture, all expected to be paid on time. Any reduction will call for civil servants to have to begin negotiations with creditors and other persons to whom there are obligations.
That is why I would contend that no competent department of public administration could possibly have circulated this memorandum without first having sought legal advice. And, I would go further and state that no lawyer in a West Indian Attorney-General’s Chambers could possibly have o-kayed it. Both contentions cannot be right. One must be wrong. The conclusion is that either the department took a risk, or the A-G’s Chambers was careless.
I know it is a long time ago, but government must retain files. About the year 1982 Verna Fahie was a young civil servant. She was sent by government on a Canadian scholarship to
In what way is the proposed new cut any different from what was done to Verna Fahie?
Come on, public admin, get their consent first.