COLA cut best of limited choice, says Association
(CNS): The Cayman Islands Civil Service Association says that of all the options presented to its membership to help with budget savings, the 3.2% cost of living allowance (COLA) cut was the best choice. Recognizing the financial challenges facing the nation, CICSA President James Watler said he hoped that the country would remember the sacrifices made by public servants as he pointed out how difficult this cut would be for low earners who are already suffering from overtime cuts. “At the individual level many civil servants and their families face deep challenges and that most live from pay-cheque to pay-cheque,” President James Watler said Tuesday in the wake of the pay cut.
“Civil servants have endured in the face of cutbacks in overtime, pay freezes, reductions in other benefits, longer working hours and increased expectations to deliver more with less than is required to do the job,” the association boss wrote in a message to the wider membership.
He said CICSA accepted the rollback of the 3.2% COLA with a heavy heart as it was deemed the most equitable and productive option for trimming direct civil service expenditure for this financial year.
“CICSA has always expressed concern for the plight of our lowest wage earners who are often disproportionally impacted by expenditure cutting measures. It is with this in mind that we view the rollback of COLA as being potentially less painful for this particularly vulnerable group of civil servants to bear than other, flat-fee, options that were suggested,” Watler said, adding that the association had advocated that the savings from the 3.2% COLA cut would be earmarked for the public service pension liability.
“We know that this is a major national debt being borne by all of us as citizens,” the president acknowledged. “We take consolation in knowing that our sacrifice will go towards ensuring hard working civil servants can receive a pension and that we are directly contributing towards relief of a major source of national debt.”
Throughout the debate on the current budget crisis the CS had endured calls for salary and benefit cuts and some pundits had suggested cutting the head count by as much as 1,000 workers, Watler noted.
“We have heard weak justifications for these cuts based on the usual arguments that civil servants contribute nothing to their pensions and that health care is free. For too long the facts have been ignored that we do pay our portion of pensions and pay out of pocket for eye care, dental and other medical exclusions as in any insurance policy,” he stated.
Watler said the association was concerned about the initial proposals regarding pension contributions, and while these may have initially focused on contracted workers, they could easily have migrated to all civil servants.
“After conducting extensive research we were able to present a robust case for a reassessment of this proposal. We anticipate an important announcement on pensions will be coming in the near future, which we hope will set the record straight and improve the national understanding of civil servants’ contributions to their pension,” the president added.
The association had also been urged by the membership to resist attempts to change health insurance coverage for civil servants without the choice of health care provider being placed on the table.
“Despite the lack of rationality in the public debate on this issue, even our strongest detractors must agree that our position is based on one of fundamental fairness," Watler said, and pledged that while the discussions are certain to continue, the association would strongly advocate on behalf of the members that choice must be introduced if they are to pay for health insurance.
With the pension and healthcare benefits preserved across the service, Watler noted that it was inevitable that payroll would be the alternative target.
“We trust that our sacrifices will be remembered, not only when it’s convenient but also in these times when everyone is joining hands and hearts together to rebuild this economy, to re-shape our public finances and to restore confidence in our nation. We trust that our efforts to date have demonstrated our value as a partner in this national process and we hope that we will continue to be afforded opportunities to have our voice heard and to contribute to the dialogue,” he said, adding that the civil service has delivered in times of great challenge and crisis before and would do so again.
See full message below from CICSA President.
|Message to Members August 21st 2012 (1).pdf||25.8 KB|
- On Sales : Samsung Galaxy SIV / Apple iPhone 5 64GB
- Sales On: Apple iPhone 5 32GB, Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III / Galaxy S4 Buy 2 get 1 free
- Affordable South Side Home for Sale
- house for rent
- car for sale
- Samsung Galaxy S4 19500 16GB Unlocked
- **Botanical Slimming MSV - Strong Version***
- South Side Beach House for Sale
- 3.05 acres of Bluff land
- Large Spot Bay beach lot
The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of CNS or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by CNS. Read more
- You in 80% of cases your
3 hours 50 min ago
- Agree to a large extent --
3 hours 54 min ago
- That is terrible, I
3 hours 58 min ago
- I disagree CNS. How about
4 hours 1 min ago
- We have the legislation, it
4 hours 2 min ago
- The unfortunate thing is
4 hours 4 min ago
4 hours 10 min ago
- We have no idea whether
4 hours 12 min ago
- Ummm. Haven't you heard of
4 hours 13 min ago
- This sort of radical feminism
4 hours 16 min ago