The continued degradation of government employees
Many people have got excited and are up in arms over the increase being received by politicians — quite unjust one might say — but so is the increase received by CEOs, managers, and executive directors in the government sector.
I am not joining the bandwagon, but presenting facts which I hope the finance minister, Government, and all involved in this salary restructuring process note.
There are people who have worked 13 years to earn a gross salary of $2.5 million (it is really less, this figure was just rounded off). So just imagine what the starting salary was before and after tax 13 years ago. It was substantially lower, but over the years, due to increases of 4 per cent or less and one year in particular they received an increase of $666.66 per month, the salary gradually moved up.
This category of work that I have selected is not the lowest, there are people earning even less. Under the new salary restructuring exercise, this salary has now moved to $2.856 million (an increase of a mere $30,000 per month), which basically works out to be gas for the month, nothing more. Compare this to the increases received by managers, CEOs, executive directors, and politicians. If anyone understands money, they will see the point I am trying to make. Of course, there are those on the lower scale who have seen themselves getting better wages. But this ‘better’ is just in comparison to what they were getting before, not a realistic salary based on the economy.
The finance minister stated that for government employees it is not a salary increase but salary restructuring. Yet, in the same breath, he is saying it is an increase for CEOs, managers, executive directors, and politicians.
From what can be seen, the levelling of salaries started and stopped at the very top. People at this level moved from as much as $8 million, in some instances, up to $24 million. Meanwhile, those who were receiving less pay initially received meagre increases when they are the ones who need it the most.
Furthermore, the Government is claiming that it needs to pay these people this substantial amount in order to attract and retain the best in the field. This is the biggest joke ever. Many of them, politicians in particular, have served in these posts so long that the only time they leave is when there is a change of Government or there is some high-level discrepancy and they are asked to leave. And I will not mention the fact that their government job is just a part-time job for them, but for the majority of government employees, it is their one and only job.
Are they also saying that those who went to universities and achieved their degrees, masters, and PhDs are not worth the money? Whatever position any government worker holds, it is one that is required, we all cannot be senior executives and are not expecting to be paid as such.
Believe me when I say it really doesn’t matter how much they want to pay each other, they probably deserve it. But for God’s sake, pay the regular government workers a living wage so that we can be ready for Vision 2030, or maybe this vision is all about the already rich and no one else.
As working class Jamaicans (soon to be poverty class), I believe we have done all that must be done to survive and remain within the law. We pay our bills (water, light, taxes, etc) and still we are being shafted, suckered, you name it so the rich can become richer.
People may not know this, but over the years several retired government workers from different categories of work have had to go back to their place of work to beg their fellow/former colleagues for assistance to help supplement their living after retirement. This is no joke.
Do we wonder why scamming has become so prevalent? Do you believe the children who see their parents go to work year in and year out and still have not reached anywhere in life will be foolish enough to continue this cycle? I don’t think so.
We have been strapped for proper wages for so long that when we should be retiring and downsizing to a smaller home, we are just completing the starter home we got from government. Some of us die trying and some never ever get to enjoy the hard work they put into trying live/survive.
Workers are not begging the Government or their employers for a free lunch, they just want a wage that will see them having a standard of living that is better than what exists now and to be able to retire with dignity.