At the request of its
membership, the Cayman Islands Civil Service Association is looking into pay
raises provided to more than four dozen government workers since 1 March.
The Caymanian Compass has
so far reported on two government portfolios that provided pay increases to some
of their employees between 1 March and 31 October. The reports were based on
information provided by the agencies under open records requests. The newspaper
intends to publish a third and final report once it receives responses from all
central government agencies to the Freedom of Information queries it submitted.
The pay increases
occurred at a time when the government service was considering, or had already
decided to implement, a 3.2 per cent across-the-board pay cut for central
Civil Service Association
President James Watler said government employees were concerned that the
personnel cost-cutting activities within the service over the last year “may not
have been as absolute as they were led to believe”.
Mr. Watler said the
Portfolio of the Civil Service – one of the agencies the Compass previously
reported on – has committed to provide the association with a list of all civil
service pay increases and the reasons given for them. He said there was no
reason to believe any of the increases were undeserved, but that “unfortunately,
[the portfolio does] not at this time know all of the rationales for the
“As we saw in the recent
round of information releases, there can be strong reasons for making such
moves, even in times of financial austerity,” he said. Mr. Watler was referring
to recent pay rises given to staff in the Portfolio of Internal and External
Affairs, two of which equated to 18 per cent increases in pay.
Although the portfolio
initially sent only a one word explanation of the pay increases, Portfolio Chief
Officer Franz Manderson later explained in detail that the rises were given for
the promotion of hard-working and deserving young Caymanians.
Mr. Watler noted there
were many civil servants who were being asked to take on additional
responsibilities and that many were simply doing it because of what the job
“We are sure that
everyone will be interested to see at what level such increased work loads will
cease to be part of the current economic reality and actually result in
effective promotion,” Mr. Watler said.
“One thing that the
current situation has highlighted is the need for the civil service to become
more regularised and transparent in its personnel management practices,” the
association president stated.
“Many section heads
responded positively to the requests for cost controls, and most civil servants
[responded] similarly to the expectations of increased work without equitable
pay, with equanimity. It would be reassuring to know that all other branches of
the service have done the same.”
Mr. Watler said the
association would seek to identify any “overt demonstration” of unfair treatment
against the membership, and pledged to investigate and respond to any such
“Equity and fairness is
not a one-way street, but it applies to both the employees as well as to our
employers,” he said.