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Fellow Public Servants

I write to you on behalf of the Management Council of the Civil Service Association on the recent proposals put forward by the Government for changes to the terms of Public Servants’ contracts.

Management Council became aware of the Government proposals when they were announced by the Office of the Premier last Wednesday.  It is our understanding that the proposals are still in draft form, and have not been agreed by the UK Government. However, Management Council is aware, as is the country, that the Government intends for these proposals to be implemented quickly, as part of its 2012/13 budget.

At the request of Management Council, we met with the Acting Deputy Governor, Ms. Jennifer Ahearn and Chief Officer of the Portfolio of the Civil Service, Mrs. Gloria McField-Nixon last Friday afternoon, following up on the Acting Deputy Governor’s Thursday memorandum, to discuss the proposals and to attempt to clarify the process that will be used - in order to determine what the next steps are for the Public Service.  While we are appreciative of the meeting, it became clear that much of what is currently being disseminated in the public forum is subject to clarification, legal testing and further discussion.

However, given the limited time available to address the concerns of Public Servants, the position of employees as has been previously communicated to CICSA, and the fact that Management Council has been consistently fielding phone calls and emails on the proposals we issued a letter to Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, through the Acting Deputy Governor, and copied to His Excellency, Governor Duncan Taylor over the weekend.  This letter communicated the CICSA position on the proposals and included requests for clarification and additional information where needed.   We have also made an appeal for a more consultative process than has hereto been afforded to us.  For transparency we have attached the letter so that all Public Servants are fully informed on the present circumstances.

Management Council expects to engage in further discussions on the proposals and will seek to keep Public Servants informed as the process develops.

The present circumstances have created serious anxiety for public servants.  The fact that we too are subject to the cost of living in the Cayman Islands, and that our ranks are finding it more and more difficult to manage financially must not be ignored.  We will endeavour to ensure that the Government is aware that Public Servants, not just our friends, families and colleagues outside of Government, struggle against the present financial crisis.

There has been much said against us in some social media forums and I have no doubt that there will be more vitriol aimed at the Public Service as Management Council seeks to continue discussions on all our behalf.  However I contend that Public Servants should continue to hold our heads high.  We have served the Government of the day and the people of the Cayman Islands well and we must continue to be dedicated to doing so.  We have assisted the Government in delivering more programs and services for the people of the Cayman Islands, while reducing our ranks and resources.  We absorbed the 3.2% cost of living adjustment (COLA) roll-back as best we could when things were particularly bad and we have taken part in the process to devise new cost saving and revenue earning methodologies to enhance the country’s sustainability.

There is no secret that the morale in the Public Service is very low as we have endured much over the past few years.  There is little doubt that the present discussions will have further negative impact.  However, I encourage you all to continue to give your best.  As servants of the public we know that our work is vitally important to the welfare of the people of the Cayman Islands, though they do not always appreciate it and we must remain focused on that goal.

As previously indicated I will endeavor to keep you informed on discussions regarding the Government’s proposals and any information which we receive before the public as a whole does.

Sincerely,

James Watler

President

 

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