Balancing wages and competitiveness in Caribbean Tech Industry

  Following a series of salary disputes in telecoms sectors across the region, this post offers some thoughts on two frequently opposing considerations: wages and competitiveness.

Over the last few weeks, there have been regular news reports of employee discontent in a few of the telecoms companies across the Caribbean region. Two of the organisations consistently featured are the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), a subsidiary of Cable & Wireless in the Bahamas, and LIME in Barbados, where the contention in both instances is regarding pay. The unions are asking for salary increases, but the companies are prepared to offer considerably less.

In Barbados, negotiations between the union and the LIME have ground to a halt, and the Minister is planning to intervene. In the Bahamas, the union has threatened industrial action, and last week it revealed that a salary review conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoppers indicated that

… over 90% of BTC’s line staff in our bargaining unit are underpaid, based on the 75th percentile, when compared with similar companies nationally and regionally…(Source: The Nassau Guardian).

Although it is hoped that these pay disputes can somehow be resolved to the mutual benefit of all parties, below are a few thoughts pertinent to both sides, which most of us employed in the ICT/telecom industry, and even the wider working community, may appreciate.  More