Letters to the Editor: On civil service pay cuts

I read with interest the plan to
cut civil service salaries across the board by 3.2 per cent, or roll back the
previously awarded cost of living allowance. I understand this has been the
outcome of senior management meetings and agreed to by the Civil Service
Association and current political administration.  This is supposedly to address some of the
budget deficit as projected.

However I must ask the question,
are all decision makers of this proposal in touch with reality?  Do we understand that cuts to workers’ pay of
those earning less than $4,000 per month, with families, mortgage, vehicle
loans, etcetera, are extremely hard to bear in these tough times?  Whereas on the other hand, although no one
really likes a pay cut, persons earning more than this and right up to the top
pay scales could adjust and cope better and in some cases it would make no
difference, except to result in maybe a lower savings for the month for
them.  I remember the premier coming out
and saying that this staggered method was one he preferred, with an increasing
percentage as the salary scales increased, including cuts to MLA’s salaries.
Why did he back away from this position that had my support and I’m sure many
others?  This strategy could easily have
netted the same dollar result and would have been less painful to the people
who needed it most.  This could have been
done say from 5 per cent to as much as 15 or 20 per cent.  A simple example will show my point: 3 per
cent of $2,000 equals $60, a significant amount to lose if that’s your salary –
probably two weeks petrol for your car or half of the grocery bill for the
week.  Take now someone earning $10,000 a
month – it’s $300 – although not insignificant, it will unlikely produce an
equivalent hardship to that individual. 

I am a little bemused by this and I
feel it necessary to vent my views on what I consider a backward step in trying
to fix a budget for the country, but taking the money back from the very people
you are going to use the budget to assist, that need it more right now for
everyday survival. 

I know this is done deal and my
view won’t change that, but I do not believe this action will benefit the
majority, but was a decision as usual taken with the interest of the decision
makers themselves in mind.

Decisions such as this only serve
to widen the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” and erode our middle
class to the point where social issues create insurmountable problems in our

Osbourne Bodden