Thursday, May 23, 2013

Still No Back Pay for Public Workers


The THA has not received sufficient funding to settle all arrears to public officers in Tobago.

"I know that there is still some discomfort in the public domain with respect to the payment of arrears for public officers, daily rated and monthly paid," Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London said.

9,000 employees of the THA are due salary arrears for the period 2008 to 2010. London said the THA had previously identified the officers, their new pay rate and monies owed. Approximately $236,576,904 was due to the daily rated workers, while $ 71,171,752 was due to those who are monthly paid, including teachers. The Ministry had allocated to the THA $84,930,580 at the beginning of the year.

London said the THA needed between $220 and $225 million to pay Tobago workers.

"Now we had an option, do we use the $84 million and pay some of the workers, which would be 30% of the workers? Or do we strive for equity and have a situation where we wait until we receive all the funding and pay all the workers?" London said a decision was made by THA leaders to wait until all the funding had been received.

"I think we took what was the only decision that we could have taken," he said during the weekly Post Executive council media briefing on Wednesday.

In the meantime, London indicated a letter had been sent to the Ministry of Finance by the Chief Administrator about the matter on April 11, 2013 treating with the request for daily rated and monthly paid workers.

"The information I got from the Minister is that it is unlikely that this funding will be made available until there is a midterm review," London said. He indicated that the process included the midterm review, a debate and approvals, and that based on the information received from the Ministry of Finance, it was unlikely that monies would be made available in Tobago sooner than late June or early July.

"We can not pay money which we do not have," he said. "The Tobago House of Assembly has taken the responsible position that it is not fair to use those monies to pay some of the workers and not pay others when there is no criteria by which you could say these are more deserving than others."

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