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PEP COLUMN: A comprehensive incomes and prices programme


BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

PEP COLUMN: A comprehensive incomes and prices programme

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The ordinary working class and middle class citizens of Barbados are being pressed too hard! Furthermore, persistent calls are constantly going out from members of the elite urging the working-people to further tighten their belts.
The Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP) would like to warn that dumping even more pressure on the backs of already hard pressed working people is a sure recipe for social and economic disaster!
No single segment of the population can carry the burden of restraint – it must be fairly distributed among all groups, including those groups that belong to the social elite.
What Barbados desperately needs now in this “special period” of economic recession is a Comprehensive Incomes And Prices Programme (CIPP) that is designed to ease some pressure off the working people, ensure that elite groups and institutions assume their fair share of the burden, and engineer a movement to greater fairness in salaries and income distribution.
How, for example, can a company like LIME justify making profits of some $200 million and paying their top Executives salaries in excess of $25 000 per month, when ordinary Barbadians are struggling hard to pay their telephone bills in a time of severe recession?
LIME, and all the other utility companies and other major corporations of Barbados, need to be brought into a formal, institutionalized programme with the Government and the trade union Movement to negotiate a new approach to prices, rates, charges, and salaries during this “special period” of recession.
We are therefore proposing a national programme that goes way beyond the currently existing Social Partnership! Indeed, we are calling for a programme that not only includes the Government, the trade unions and the traditional Employers associations, but also the banks, the commercial landlords, the public utility companies, the insurance and mortgage companies, and the various professional associations.
Clearly, it is our Government that will have to take the lead in expanding the Social Partnership into such a Comprehensive Incomes And Prices Programme (CIPP)! Once this is done, Government will then use the new network to work out an agreement with the principal groups in the economy to the effect that they will all temper their demands, and, where possible, institute modifications that will bring some ease to the working-people of Barbados.
The national CIPP will also provide the ideal structure for addressing such issues as a national minimum wage, and a general grading up of the lower and middle incomes or salaries in relation to the higher ones.
Barbados is compact and sophisticated enough as a society for something like this to be manageable and to work. All it calls for is a little vision and will on the part of the Government.
The PEP hereby calls upon the Freundel Stuart led, Democratic Labour Party administration to move with haste to implement a CIPP, and to use the CIPP to deliver immediate and significant financial ease to the working people of Barbados.

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