Civil servants call for equity in pay

| 30/04/2015 | 30 Comments

(CNS): Public sector workers are calling on government to address the frozen pay for long term, mostly local, civil servants whose pay packets have been the same for more than a decade after the cost of living allowances (COLA) is returned to them this July. In a statement released Thursday, the Cayman Islands Civil Service Association (CICSA) said its members had not seen incremental advancement within their jobs for more than a dozen years which has undermined the moral and created an inequity between contract workers and long term government staff.

Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Government Administration Building

Not only was the COLA taken away during the tough times, annual pay rises and job advancement increases have been a thing of the past for too long for public sector personnel, the association stated, and this has driven good employees away and made it more difficult to recruit new staff.

“These restrictive policies are particularly hard on permanent, generally Caymanian, staff as contracted officers are able to negotiate their salaries when hired or re-hired while permanent staff are kept on the ‘new hire’ pay point for years, sometimes until they leave the service out of frustration,” CICSA President James Watler said.

The organisation which is the closest thing that Cayman has to a union said that the issue remained on CICSA’s agenda, though the matter and the damage it has done has been acknowledged by the deputy governor.

But with reports of improving government finances through civil service operating cuts and personnel expenses, the president urged government, after it returns the multi-year pay-cut in July with a promised 4% COLA, to turn its attention to the policies which “have created the inequality of pay between Caymanian and expatriate staff”.

“The Association has and will continue to advocate for a proper manpower assessment across the board in the public service to identify the posts and skills really needed … and the proper remuneration of those posts,” the president said, as he pointed to the need to attract and retain top quality staff.

He also pointed out the need for proper succession planning to help with career advancement.

“If the public wants a service to be provided, the persons providing that service must be paid properly and equitably. Anything less is unfair,” he said.

The civil service has come in for criticisms frequently from the public sector as a result of a popular misconception of a bloated bureaucracy full of fat cats earning top dollar at tax payers’ expense. But while there are no doubt managers and senior officials who are not providing value for money, the majority of government staff are lower paid workers who are supporting the country’s infrastructure. From garbage collectors and hospital orderlies to teachers and firefighters, there are many critical workers who are underpaid and often overworked.

CICSA statement re Incremental Advancement, April 2015

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “COLA taken away during the tough times, annual pay rises and job advancement increases have been a thing of the past for too long”

    Got news for civil servants. The private sector hasn’t seen these things in a long time either.

    • Anonymous says:

      Civil Service staff complain about salary when they aren’t paying health insurance nor pension?? They get 100 paid sick days per year, tardy whenever they want with no repercussions, yap on the phone, internet, eat at desks, drive around gov’t cars for personal errands, gas cards etc…all this and never have to be worried about getting fired yet they want more money?? *sigh*

    • Anonymous says:

      not true

    • Anonymous says:

      did you see that competition running for free gas for life. Instead of being the lucky winner you can just join the CS and get your free gasboy card for life! and a free car to drive around in too!

  2. Bonnie Anglin says:

    I think that the Civil Service and the fast majority of the public are not addressing the real issue: cost of living. Instead of advocating for salary increases for a portion of the labour force they should be advocating for a reduction in the cost of living which will benefit everyone. As for the heart wrenching statistic that X% of Civil Servants make below $3,000 a month, which exists in ALL Governments, the Civil Service Association should also be promoting and encouraging staff to improve their skill level by taking advantage of the programs offered by UCCI, ICCI and the many online courses that are available. It is one thing to need a higher salary to meet the high cost of living. The other side of the coin, is the skills and qualification being offered by these staff members. Those making below $3,000 a month, though not to survive on in this very expensive country, are usually those staff members who did not take advantage of High School, a very lenient scholarship program, the opportunity to work and further their education and now find, in hindsight, how difficult it is to survive having not taken opportunity of easily accessible higher education and skill building.

  3. To Mr Watler and the public at large. The Civil Service, and therefore Civil Servants are very well paid and deliver a mediocre service to this Country. Instead of highlighting those who are on the lower salary scale – because of their lack of education and academic achievement, encourage them to go to UCCI or ICCI and improve their product ( their ability) and then be able to sell their labour for a higher salary. If not, try the private sector. After they read most of those resumes, they will tell the majority that they are unqualified and they are. On the other hand, the top Civil Servants are overpaid. Our Attorney General is on the same pay scale as the President of the United States of America – AND getting a salary increase soon! Think about that. Think about encouraging those Civil Servants, who deliver such poor service, to go back to school, finish their education ( they did not when they had a chance), then compete in the labour market and stop “whining”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I bet those 270 people are the regular participants in 5K-runs. If even a quarter of this time and effort was spent on morale and efficiency development (as what is spent on 5K runs) there would be a real transformation of government. But for now only the faithful lapdogs get rewarded with exclusive increments, yeah!!!!!
    Better leadership is found on Gumtree.

    “The vast majority of public servants make less than $3k per month and live from pay check to pay check. The moratorium on increments like the removal of COLA were put in place by the previous government and this government if they don’t do right by public servants are just as complicit. Maybe Mr Manderson can explain the rational for 270+ employees deserved promotions and salary and uplift in increments while the other civil servants are undeserving.

  5. Greatful says:

    Thank goodness for stalwarts like James Watler who remain employed in the civil service after the age of 60 instead of retiring so they can advance the cause of all us civil servants by running CICSA, the civil servants’ union. Prior to him there was Sheena Glasgow and prior to her Lucille Seymour. These stalwarts each keep the job of head of CICSA for many many years because no one else wants it. Mr Watler has been re-elected for at least 10 years. But why are they all George Towners?

  6. Anonymous says:

    this must be that new generation I keep hearing about, you know the status grants and their children, gonna make sure they get what that birthright comes with but poor us Caymanians, left with nothing and they even have Caymanians fighting to improve benefits for them. what a stinking mess

  7. Uncivil Servant says:

    Too little, too late. All the good ones gone long time.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Guess job security for life, fully paid health insurance for entire family and extensive sick leave pay comes at a price aka less salary!

    • Anonymous says:

      Then make it all equal across the board. NO free healthcare or pension or gas card or 100 sick days,or showing up late or non performing or smashing up the office cars and trucks etc.,etc.,

    • Anonymous says:

      Know ur shit before u spit i just love how the public / mainly the private sector love to sling rocks but to also get poor service from them as well and we dont get all the big benefits that deeznuts around here like to chat bout

  9. B. Hurlstone says:

    It would be interesting and informative to have the salaries and perks of ALL the job categories and managerial positions in CIG revealed……. but we know that will never happen!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m in a managerial position.
      Apart from the health and pension that everyone goes on about, I get a place to park. I really can’t think of much else. No Christmas bonus, no overtime, no pay rise for 10 years but my car park is nice. Oh I should also mention that as a manager I get a window. One day I might get an office with walls that go to the ceiling and an office door but I do like the window. I’d like to get a government car to take home so I can drop my kids off at school like some of the managers get but I guess I’m in the wrong department. (Actually I agree with my departments’ policy and think it should be government wide.)

      • B. Hurlstone says:

        Anonymous 11:16, since there will be no official listing of any CIG wages perhaps you could reveal some that you are familiar with. (?)

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m in a managerial position in the private sector. I get health & pension, and a place to park too. I have a window but no office door. Like you, I get no Christmas bonus, had no pay rise for several years, and I drive my own car. So why should govt employees get anything more than those of us in the unprotected real world ?

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m a senior manager, that works on average 70 hours a week and get paid for only 37.5 of them, I do not have a window, a door or a parking space. But then I am in the private sector and this is the norm. Why don’t you move to the private sector if you are unhappy and w will see how fast you move back to the cushy government job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unless you are a furrener in which case that’s alright mon, Cayman style

      • Anonymous says:

        What is wrong with you. If we are to have experts leave there own country to locate here, to help us in our drive to modernize, then they should be well compensated for doing that.

  10. Anonymous says:

    $6 per hour is what all CS should be paid

  11. Anonymous says:

    The vast majority of public servants make less than $3k per month and live from pay check to pay check. The moratorium on increments like the removal of COLA were put in place by the previous government and this government if they don’t do right by public servants are just as complicit. Maybe Mr Manderson can explain the rational for 270+ employees deserved promotions and salary and uplift in increments while the other civil servants are undeserving.

  12. Anonymous says:

    In any other country I would be sympathetic and am to those who actually do the jobs they are employed to do and do it well, but unfortunately their is a sizable number who are constantly on sick leave, running their own businesses during the time they are employed by CIG, are constantly late, and when they do show up put a lack luster performance in. But they are untouchable either because they are Caymanian and well connected or are driftwood who are connected and as much part of the landscape as those born here.

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