Published On: Tue, Dec 10th, 2013

VBC supports government austerity plans

Curacao Government CenterWILLEMSTAD – The Curacao Business Association (VBC) supports the plans presented by the Minister of Policy, Planning and Government Services, Etienne van der Horst. The Minister wants to cut back on personnel costs of the government. According to the association, the personnel are one of the biggest expenses of the government.

The cuts will increase from 15 million guilders this year to 50 million in 2016. The VBC sees the reaction of the unions as ‘predictable’. The association alleges egocentrism. They find it "high time that employees in the public sector do their part to make the public finances healthy again. The rest of the community has been faced with numerous aggravating measures so that public servants can get their salaries and other expenses of employees in the public sector can be paid. The association points out to the civil servants that their average civil service salary is 122.639 guilders which in Curacao is a "very generous" salary.

Measures

Specifically it involves actions such as adjusting the pension agreement (average wage), abolishing the early retirement agreement, the suspension of wage indexation and halving the holiday pay. At the same time the measures provide compensation in the field of retirement insurance (second class, glasses, dental, nominal premium, etc.).

Alternatives

The government unions have put forward alternatives, but those are, according to the VBC, no austerity measures. Their proposal was that the government would collect back taxes and in addition would introduce new taxes. “If there are tax arrears then, the proceeds should be used to cover the deficits of 2010, 2011 and 2012 as rightly observed by the government.”

Compliance

The unions also want the government to present the financial statements of last year. “Not meeting the compliance implies that the state authorities, despite their excessive salaries, are not efficient and are not working properly. Why should they get these large rewards?”

Distress

According to the unions, the government violates the law. The social status ends in mid-2015. But necessity knows no law, according to the VBC. "At the time of the conclusion of the Social Charter in 2009, the financial situation of the country Curaçao was different than at present.”

Urgent appeal

The VBC urges the government to implement the "proposed action and not as it was the case with the introduction of the basic medical insurance in which they excluded the public sector. Do nothing as demanded by the unions. Their demands mean that Curacao will end up in a financial and socioeconomic crisis and chaos resulting in high unemployment, poverty, devaluation of the guilder and growing insecurity. Strikes will only accelerate this process.”

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