Many thanks to my friends Alfred Sasako and Jully Sipolo and all those who have written on the subject of Parliamentary Entitlements!
Whether pay increments are proposed by a Parliamentary Entitlements Committee (PEC), or by MPs directly, is difficult to gauge because MPs have significant indirect influence on a PEC--MPs choose the PEC membership. Thus, a PEC is very likely to 'go looking' for ways to increase MPs' benefits.
Outside of Parliament, a labour tribunal (which is the PEC's role) cannot be expected to fully insulate an employee (such as an MP) from his/her employer (The People). Employers rarely agree to be totally constrained by any labour award--they would (as we've seen in many instances) find some way to get around paying uneconomic benefits.
In the case of Parliament, the Employer (The People) should have ways to 'get around' awards that it considers uneconomic, even if the PEC has approved them. The only way for The People to get around uneconomic and insensible wage increases to their employees (MPs) is through an election. And requiring an election before any such increases can take effect means that the increases will be a key element of the election.
Isn't this where pay raise decisions for MPs should be? For example, the very first democratically elected legislature of the modern era dealt with this matter 220 years ago: On 25 September, 1789, the First US Congress, in its First Session, approved the following article to be added to the US Constitution; and following ratification by the required number of states, the article became part of the US Constitution:
"No law, varying the compensation for the services of the [Members of Congress], shall take effect, until an election ... shall have intervened."
Let the employers participate!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Chuck Kick and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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