NUPW: Mixed bag

The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is disappointed there was no reduction in taxes announced in Monday’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.

However, general secretary Richard Green said there were still a few positives they were happy about.

“The NUPW was looking forward to a reduction in taxes and the rate of taxation, especially for those at the lower end, and at least the possibility of an increase in the reverse tax credit based on the recent rate of inflation.

“We were hoping this would give greater ease and additional spending power to public officers. This did not happen,” he said, adding they were at least “comfortable” there were no new taxes announced.

Last week, Green, along with general secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados Dennis De Peiza, said tax relief was urgently needed by workers.

“We need to look at consideration for the return of allowances, allowing people again to claim on their pension contributions. We need to urgently look at the question of further tax relief for persons at the lower end of the work scale. The tax burden is high for all workers, but if we can bring relief to that group of workers, it would be a start,” the NUPW general secretary said then. 

However, Green said that on the plus side, they were pleased to hear about the support given to the protective and health sectors by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Amor Mottley in her Budget package.

“We are happy there has been an acknowledgement and support for public officers in the protective and health services in providing the options for additional police officers to enter the Public Officers Loan and Travelling Allowances arrangement which we see as a positive sign.

“We are also happy with the additional support to the nurses in offering them more vacation time. One of the challenges we recognised in the nursing sector is most of the time they operate with a shortage of both equipment and staff and under very challenging environmental conditions. We had recognised burnout has occurred in some cases so that additional time for rest and recovery, the NUPW supports,” he said.

Green also said he was happy with Mottley’s inclusion of lieu days for public officers which he said would be an incentive to increased productivity. He said there was much more to go over in the Budget but those were his preliminary thoughts.

When contacted, De Peiza said he was not prepared to comment as he first had to deliberate with his members.

Barbados Workers’ Union general secretary Toni Moore, who is also a Government backbencher, said she would give her response during the Budget Debate.

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