CLIFTON Simpson, second deputy president general of the National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW), is sending a stern message to Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
At a press conference on Friday last to mark Solidarity Day, Simpson was asked about his expectations for public servants from Imbert’s budget presentation today.
He said, "We would like the Minister of Finance to recognise us as public servants who serve this country."
Simpson highlighted numerous challenges faced by public servants who, he said, have not had a pay increase for the last six years.
"We take our own vehicles to conduct government business and do not get compensated."
He said public servants were owed the personal money they take to fund travels relating to government business. This money, he said, has been owed for over four years.
Simpson also spoke of challenges faced by public servants who work with various local government corporations. These workers, he said, are exposed to safety and health risks.
In light of these challenges, he urged Imbert to "make a statement about it rather than criticising public servants."
He said it is unfair for public servants to be labelled “unproductive” when they are not given the appropriate tools to do their jobs.
"We do the work assigned to us, and when properly managed, issues of productivity will be greatly improved in this country."
Considering the cost of living, Simpson asked Imbert to "treat with the businesspeople who take advantage of us poor, working-class people." He said businesses "have every single excuse to raise the price of food and services in the country."
He also hopes that Imbert deals with banks, which, he says "continue to impose financial charges on poor, working-class people."
Providing an overview of the various sectors public servants contribute to, he said, "It is because of public servants and trade unions that we still have a democracy."