|MPs' salaries doubled; Jackson tells why
Friday, November 29, 2002
THE salaries of members of parliament (MPs) have actually increased by a whopping 103 per cent, but, according to junior finance minister Fitz Jackson, the hike is largely a result of them missing several earlier pay increases.
"Up to this year, MPs were being paid at the 1992 level (of $1.08 million)," Jackson told the Observer yesterday. "They were not taking the new increases in between."
According to the junior finance minister, until July of this year, MPs were not receiving their new salary for 1999 of $1.2 million per annum plus an "anomaly adjustment" that was made to the emoluments of permanent secretaries and other senior civil servants following a reclassification in 2000. That adjustment would have increased the legislators' annual pay to $1.9 million, effective April 1, 2001.
He said the anomaly pertained to the higher compensation package that scientific and technical personnel received, compared to the senior executive group in the civil service. Consequently, said Jackson, the salaries of permanent secretaries were adjusted upwards, but this did not trigger, at the time, a similar increase in the salaries of ministers of government, which are set at $1 per week more than the permanent secretaries' salaries.
Neither was the anomaly adjustment reflected in the salaries of MPs, which is also tied by a set differential to the emoluments of ministers of government, Jackson explained.
He said that on top of these back-payments received in July this year, MPs again received in October an average 15.8 per cent pay rise due to the adjusting of the salaries of civil servants to 80 per cent of market rates as agreed between government and the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA).
In fact, the new annual salary of $2.2 million reflects a 103 per cent increase on the $1.08 million per annum salary for 1992 that MPs were receiving up to July this year, Jackson said.
"The same ratio of adjustment to 80 per cent of market that the civil servants got, is the same ratio of adjustment for the political directorate," Jackson stated emphatically. "It is not a separate increase in and of itself."
Under the agreement between government and the JCSA, the salaries of civil servants will increase in four tranches as follows:
October 2002 20 per cent
April 2003 20 per cent
April 2004 30 per cent
April 2005 30 per cent
According to Wayne Jones, JCSA president, these percentage increases will be applied to the gap between current pay levels in the civil service and pay levels reflecting 80 per cent of private sector rates.
He said the net increases in the emoluments of civil service groups range from three to 30 per cent.
"It differs in a significant way," he said.