*File photo
*File photo

 

Government workers have agreed to take a 4.6 per cent cut, Premier Craig Cannonier said today.

All public sector workers will take one unpaid day off a month for the next two years, expected to save up to $42 million over two years.

And they have also accepted a pay freeze until 2015 as well as an early retirement incentive plan aimed at employees aged between 60 and 64 – which could save up to $10 million over two years.

The pay freeze – in existence since 2011 – will be extended for a further two years.

Trades unions also accepted that – although Government has committed to no redundancies until at least March 2015 – they may happen in the future, although Government has agreed to consultations before any lay-offs are made.

Government will also speak to private sector service providers to ask them to take account of the sacrifices made by Government workers.

Mr Cannonier said the historic agreement – the first time all trades unions and associations have negotiated at the same time – would shave millions off the cost of Government.

He added: “This government will consistently look for ways to manage the public purse in a fiscally responsible manner and will continue to move the country in the right direction.”

And Mr Cannonier said: “From a Government persepective, we went into the negotiations with the intention of not making redundancies and layoffs.

“I am encouraged that jobs have not been cut and that no position has been made redundant. Neither have the members taken a cut in pay.”

He added: “In the midst of our current economic climate, the stakeholders came together for the greater good and reached an amicable solution.

“This is an example of the shared sacrifice I referred to when Ministers took a pay cut earlier this year.”

The early retirement scheme will offer six months’ pay as an incentive and successful applicants would leave work no later than the end of September this year.

The deal was brokered by the Bermuda Trades Union Congress (BTUC), headed by president Allan Wilkinson, which represented six bodies, including the Bermuda Public Services Union and the BIU.

A BTUC statement said: “The BTUC agreed to assist the employer by helping to reduce the current Government deficit through cost cutting measures. Certain concessions were made which were designed to assist in this regard.

“The agreement was made with the understanding that the Government agreed it is not their intention to make redundancies or lay-offs from the signing date of the memorandum of understanding to March 31, 2015.

“However, if it becomes necessary to do so, the employer agreed to consult with the BTUC on any proposal to abolish any position/post within the public service which will result in redundancies.”