Wednesday, September 2, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: The Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) has spoken out against comments made by chair of the Social Security Board (SSB), Douglas Singh, who suggested that any proposed increase in pension or pension benefits would essentially be tied to or not considered without considering an increase in pensions for contributors, not done since 2002.
Firstly, the Union says it asked for and agreed to a complete media blackout concerning the negotiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and Singh’s comments constitute a breach of good faith.
The Union maintains that no increase is being sought in pensions for employees. The staff pension scheme operated by the Board outside of the CBA, is managed by a board of trustees which recommended a raise to the four pensioners covered by the scheme and it is not connected to the negotiations.
The Board, according to the Union, has approved and received for themselves in excess of a 150% increase on their allowances since their tenure and for the first time, has tied staff benefits to SSB pensioner’s benefits.
Only the Minister of Finance, whose portfolio covers the Board, can act in the case of increase to SSB pensioners, and suggestions otherwise are “playing games” with the negotiations.
The CWU disputes the chairman’s view of benefits enjoyed by SSB employees as similar to what they would get in the Public Service with lower salaries. It says that in fact those salaries were on par or below general remuneration in the Public Service subject to the recent raise given to them.
The SSB staff, the Union says cannot be blamed for the issue; it is the Government that maintains control. It adds that the investment portfolio should be considered and asks that no further delay be made in the negotiations.
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