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Significant Pay Hike

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Significant Pay Hike

Early X-mas for Public Servants

The Niue Public Service Commission has confirmed to Tala Niue that some public servants are receiving or have received in the last few days, a significant pay increase. Chairman Atapana Siakimotu said that this was just part of the normal process which was started in 2013 to bring the level of government salaries and wages to approximately 80% of comparable rates in New Zealand. Those receiving an increase were the next group to do so in this on-going process.  He denied any suggestions that the Commission had received any directive to apply the increases now, just three days before the country goes to the polls. 
It might be a dull day outside but not for the folks inside

How significant are the increases? Information available to Tala Niue indicates that the average increase would be about 38% to 40%.  Using the lower percentage, a public servant on $13,000, which is probably the lowest salary level in government, would receive an increase of $4,940 to $17,940. Mid-level employees on say $21,000 would receive an increase of $7,980 to $28,980.

Muted reaction

The reaction from the private sector has been somewhat muted. Those in the sector that Tala Niue contacted, but who preferred to remain anonymous, welcomed the increases and hoped that some will trickle down to local businesses. Almost all acknowledged though that it is going to be an uphill struggle now to attract staff. “What youngster coming out of Niue High School would want to work for five days in the private sector, when you can work in government for four days and get paid for five”, one said.

Strong Reaction from Opposition

Meantime opposition members have been quick to condemn the move as a deliberate election ploy.  Terry Coe said that it was good to see public servants get a well-deserved rise but the timing was the “mother of all election ploys”. He said that government could have waited until after the elections before awarding the increases. 

Stan Kalauni said, “I am not surprised at all – that is how he [Sir Toke Talagi] works”. Even after Tala Niue pointed out that NPSC Chairman had denied receiving any directive, Mr Kalaluni said, ”This has the Premier’s mark all over it”.

According to Mr Siakimotu, next in line to receive a pay hike would be Director Generals and Departmental Heads. Tala Niue understands that Director Generals of Ministries and Departmental Heads are currently on $51,000. Do the arithmetic.

 

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