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BPSU demands to see last PLP review of the Civil Service

The Bermuda Public Services Union is urging Government to give it access to the latest review of the Civil Service as it heads into negotiations over its cost.

BPSU president Kevin Grant said his union, which represents about 1,800 public service workers, was given access to previous reviews but the Progressive Labour Party hadn’t allowed it to see the most recent.

“It has always been our view that if we have access to the results of any reviews, we can provide a perspective that may encourage buy-in from our members who drive the initiatives or recommendations,” Mr Grant said.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson confirmed that the review remains restricted and will not be made public.

Government is set to begin negotiations with the public service unions in a bid to trim the $1 billion cost of running the Country, just as the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission begins its work.

The SAGE Commission’s terms of reference includes the possibility of privatising government services and the new body has established a subcommittee specifically charged with privatisation and outsourcing.

Mr Grant warned against “drastic cuts” in the Civil Service, saying such action could be detrimental to the goal of economic recovery.

About half of Government’s $1 billion annual budget goes toward salaries and wages.

“The pressure placed on Government to downsize is quite evident, however, the approach must be pragmatic at a time when there is uncertainty and high tension within the labour force,” he said.

“If the goal is ‘economic recovery’ then drastic cuts on the public sector could be detrimental.

“The very same initiative of encouraging entrepreneurship could be placed in jeopardy if there are not sufficient resources within the public sector to cater to these new businesses.

“Healthy competition in the business sector that drives comparative pricing should also be encouraged as this will surely benefit workers who are being asked to survive on less every year but still ‘buy Bermuda’.”

He added: “We intend on playing a major role in the Country’s recovery from one of the worst, if not the worst, financial positions in its history.

“We acknowledge that underlying interests can be significant factors in negotiations and collaboration.

“However, we have come to the point where personal interests will have to take a back seat. The state of the economy has put unions in a predicament where a far more creative approach is necessary.

“Many organisations and Governments, both locally and internationally, have had to embrace the concept of change.

“Our union and its members should not be immune to this phenomenon. This concept of embracing change must not resonate fragmentarily within our society. It is a mindset that must be adopted by all stakeholders.

“Job creation has been the clarion call by a number of factions and the push for entrepreneurship to invigorate the economy is something that should be supported.

“Unions have always supported job creation because we know that a working population will turn around this economy.”

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Published April 24, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm)

BPSU demands to see last PLP review of the Civil Service

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