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St. Maarten union has not received counterproposal to cost-of-living adjustment, expects it to be budgeted


PHILIPSBURG–President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) Claire Elshot said that as government has not presented a counterproposal for the possible sustainability of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) scheme by the date it said it would, the union fully expects the status quo to remain and the COLA to be budgeted for 2013.

Elshot said Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams had indicated in a recent meeting of GOA (the consultation body that handles issues related to civil servants) that the committee formed to look at the issue would present a counterproposal on October 12 in a follow-up GOA meeting.

As no such information has been received or any other form of communication, Elshot said the WITU would be looking for the COLA of 2011 to be budgeted and a schedule to be presented for payment in 2013.
The Prime Minister is on record as stating that the system currently used for indexation could lead to serious financial consequences and would be untenable.

“This is related to the fact that the way the indexation is currently calculated, the cost-of-living increase is granted to compensate for the full cost-of-living index every year and every year it becomes a structural part of the salaries, which means that salaries are adjusted on top of the indexation of the year before,” the PM said.

“This has consequences for pensions and all other aspects that relate to the base salaries. The bottom line is that even if we were to find ourselves in better economic times, we cannot meet those structural adjustments of public salaries. We need to therefore talk about the future of the indexation as part of the broader discussion of public servants’ entitlements,” she had added in September.

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