THE National Government is currently on shaking ground as they tried their best to carefully handle the plight of the Government’s Lawyers Association (GLA) by giving them some increase to their demands.
Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, Ethel Sigimanu confirmed before the Public Accounts Committee (PEC) last week.
Mrs Sigimanu was responding to the Opposition Leader and PEC member Manasseh Maelanga, when he questioned that there was no reflection on the 2019 Budget to show that the Ministry is concerned about the GLA issues.
Solomon Star understands that GLA served a strike notice a month ago with regards to their terms and conditions to the national government.
But Mrs Sigimanu said the government and GLA have reached an understanding with an MOU to be signed between the two parties soon.
“The recent claims by the GLA were on three areas; one is to increase the clothing allowance from $2,000 per year to $4,000, second is to increase the convenience allowance that they receive every fortnight from 40 percent of the basic salary to 80 percent.
“And the third claim was to increase their rental waiver to a 100 percent. At the moment this is done at the discretion of the Permanent Secretary,” Mrs Sigimanu said.
She further added that GLA would like to see that once they find difficulties with, being housed a 100 percent waiver should be made.
Mrs Sigimanu however confirmed that the Government has responded quiet positively and in its counter offer the government is currently giving a thousand dollar increase to their clothing allowance.
“The government also giving an increase of 5 percent on their current 40 percent convenience allowance so it is now 45 percent.
“And for their rental allowance, the government is tagging a condition on the 100% rental waiver but its conditional upon the state of the house,” Mrs Sigimanu said.
So this means that the government lawyers are expected to see some changes in their remuneration in the coming days.
But some government lawyers told this paper yesterday that this is a mere talking without action.
“It is very easy to award our Member of Parliament with millions of dollars but when it comes to the demand of the hardworking public servants, it falls on deaf ears,” a GLA member told this paper on Monday.
While the government workers and others have been holding their triggers to go on strike and demand the government to be fair, the MPs will receive their $400,000 terminal grant at the end of the 10th parliament next month.
This means that the taxpayers of this country will foot a total of $20 million zero tax for the MPs terminal grant as required under the PER.
By ANDREW FANASIA