I won’t fall into Mark’s wage-talk ‘trap’

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Finance Minister Colm Imbert. –

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert on Friday accused Opposition Senator Wade Mark of setting a trap for him which he had not fallen for, responding to Mark’s urgent question in the Senate about wage-rise proposals for public servants.

Mark had asked about the Government’s rationale for the Chief Personnel Officer’s (CPO) offer of a two per cent rise over eight years to public servants.

The Public Services Association on Thursday described the CPO’s offer of 0-0-0-0-1-0-0-1 for the years from 2014-2021 as “unacceptable” and “a total disrespect.”

Imbert replied, “Senator Mark couldn’t be serious. I find it surprising that he would ask someone as experienced as I am a question like that, thinking that I would fall into error.

“Negotiations for collective agreements are not conducted in public.

“I will not fall into the trap of making an injudicious statement that could be used against the Government in court.”

Mark said, “Can I ask the minister whether the Government intends to address this provocative offer in the coming period?”

Imbert said, “I repeat my previous answer. I’m surprised Senator Mark hasn’t learnt…”

Senate President Christine Kangaloo interjected, “No need. It’s fine. Senator Mark.”

Mark asked if the Government has set aside a sum of money to address these negotiations, but Kangaloo said the question did not arise.

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