In the midst of an intensified industrial climate where public sector workers are clamouring for their constitutionally due 25% pension and gratuity payment from government, the Keith Mitchell-led administration said it is committed to pension reform.
This was highlighted by Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade as she delivered the throne speech ahead of the 2019 Budget presentation on Wednesday at the Parliament Building at Mt. Wheldale, St. George.
The island’s female head of state announced that a Pension Secretariat has been set up by government and is currently conducting a study to ensure an appropriate package for public servants.
“My Government also remains firmly committed to pension reform.
Indeed, ensuring that our retirees are provided with a decent pension so that they can have a comfortable standard of living in their twilight years, is not just a social imperative, but a moral duty, which my Government takes seriously”, she said.
“To meet this commitment, my Government has established a Pension Secretariat and has secured the services of a company to conduct an actuarial study to assist in designing an appropriate package based on Grenada’s particular financial situation. My Government has already taken action to support public officers who were appointed between April 4th, 1983 and February 22nd, 1985, on the basis of the Hermilyn Armstrong judgement…”, she added.
Under the Grenada Constitution, provisions are already entrenched for public officers to benefit from a 25% gratuity and pension package.
The controversial pension issue was ruled upon by the Court of Appeal in 1998 in a matter involving retired public officer, Irvin Mc Queen and the Public Service Commission (PSC) in which the Justices ruled in favour of the officer and against the state body.
Despite the current impasse in negotiations with public sector trade unions and staff associations, the Governor General indicated that the “Government is committed to achieving pension reform “which will benefit workers in the post-1985 category”.
“We must balance this commitment with ensuring that decisions taken do not have negative effects on future generations, but are done within the parameters of the Fiscal Responsibility Law”, she told legislators.
The unions took industrial action against the Mitchell-led government accusing it of reneging on the 25% gratuity and offering them 2% instead.