Chairman of Public Service Commission (PSC), Martin Mahe, is calling on all members of the Vanuatu Teachers Union (VTU) to think twice before engaging themselves in their proposed industrial action.

On May 8, the Office of PSC was served with a strike notice from the VTU. The notice gives the Commission a 30-day ultimatum to respond to their grievances or face a strike action. The 30 days will lapse on June 3.

VTU demanded that the Government carry out the implementation of rectified Government Remuneration Tribunal (GRT) and be backdated to January 1, 2018 and also restore and backdate housing and child allowances.

However, chairman Mahe says relevant authorities are working very hard to address the issue of GRT and resorting to an industrial action is not a solution.

He added that parents who are paying school fees believe in the teachers and engaging in such actions would be depriving the students their right to education.

Mahe explained that GRT is a government policy which was introduced to review salary scales of all government employees.

“It is not an easy task,” he said. “It consumed a lot of time and most importantly, required a large portion of budget to cater for the process.”

He admitted that when GRT came into effect, there has been some anomalies which saw some public servants had minor increase to their salaries while others witnessed slight reductions. There are also employees whose salaries remain unchanged.

GRT being an independent body under the Prime Minister’s Office has allowed opportunity for each Commission to make submissions of anomalies that are being encountered by the public servants.

According to Mahe, PSC did made submissions to the GRT to address the ongoing anomalies. He admitted that there has been a delay to address these issues due to other commitments that the three man GRT Board members had but the he also confirmed the board members have met and have already made determinations but additional budget to address the anomalies will have to be passed in parliament in June.

“The budget will be made available to the Department of Finance and by June, all Government employees should receive salaries backdated to January.”

On the issue of housing and child allowances, Chairman of Public Servant reiterated that these allowances are included with their GRT salary package.

Mahe stressed “Given all the facts stated above and the tireless commitment from relevant Government agencies to ensure the transition is done as smoothly as possible, and after having provided all necessary guarantees to the concerned stakeholders on GRT issues, the PSC strongly opposes the move led by unionist to willingly interrupt government services, which will ultimately not only affect the public as whole, but will specifically affect Vanuatu’s younger generations who are in dear need of sustained quality education.”