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NWU: BACKPAY MUST BE PAID IN FULL

posted 28 Jun 2016, 23:47 by Gerry Kangalee

2016-06-29


BACKPAY MUST BE PAID IN FULL


The National Workers Union (NWU) notes with concern Finance Minister Imbert’s statement in the Senate on June 28th 2016 that 50% of the backpay owed to certain categories of public sector workers, including monthly paid employees of the RHAs, should be paid “within a day or two.”

The government has persisted in treating this issue that is of great concern to health care workers in such a cavalier, contemptuous fashion that it has become a festering sore. The National Workers Union is constrained to point out that these arrears go back to 2011 and represent monies already worked for and that in these times of economic stress, workers are fed up of being jerked around by fancy talking politicians who seem to be clueless as to how to lead the country out of the quicksand.

The Minister of Finance, after several months of silence, announced in his April midyear budget review that workers will get half their retroactive payments by the end of June (another date in the long line of promised dates) and the other half in government bonds at the end of September or in two instalments at unspecified dates in 2017. The position of the National Workers Union was then, and remains so now, that the workers should be paid all their arrears in cash.

Mr. Imbert’s statement is more interesting for what it obscures rather than for what it reveals. He has not named a date for the payment of the other fifty percent which, he had said, would be paid either in government bonds at the end of September or in two tranches in 2017.

There has been no concluded agreement with the Public sector unions involved that if bonds are to be accepted what the conditions applying to these bonds would be such as maturity date and interest rates. If the government imposes and not negotiates these terms with the public sector unions involved, it would be acting in an illegal, unethical and dictatorial fashion and the public sector unions will surely resist. Health sector workers are not represented by a recognised majority union and are forced to accept whatever the government decides.

The National Workers Union calls on the Minister of Finance to meet government’s obligations to the workers in full by the end of June.

The National Workers Union calls upon the managements of the five RHAs to avoid creating chaos among workers who are to receive their part payment by providing them with detailed documentation which would show how the retroactive payments were broken down. This would serve to reveal the inevitable calculation errors that will arise and allow workers to have those errors corrected. These documents, ideally, should be distributed to the workers before payment

These detailed statements should include: the amount of each and every increase in benefits that is to be applied and for each respective year and a breakdown of sums calculated for each benefit for each year for each employee.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Gerry Kangalee (National Education and Research Officer. Cell: 785-7637)
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