TRINIDAD – Backpay coming
Thousands of workers promised payment
PORT OF SPAIN –– Health care workers are among thousands of employees from the public sector who are expected to benefit from a $4 billion backpay after the September 7 general election.
Minister of Finance and the Economy Larry Howai said the backpay would be paid in November. He was speaking at yesterday’s post-cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.Chief Personnel Officer Stephanie Lewis and the Regional Health Authorities agreed to a 14 per cent pay hike for employes earlier this week. It is for the expired period 2011 to 2013.
RHA workers on Wednesday engaged in a heated protest outside the Ministry of Health, Port of Spain, after Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan did not give a satisfactory response to demands for payment of their backpay before next month’s polls.
But Howai said yesterday the new rates were to be implemented from September as some time was required for the adjustments to be effected. He said the backpay will be paid in November. He said time was required not only to make the administrative adjustments but in some instance parliamentary approval was necessary as some of the money was not appropriated before the Parliament was dissolved in June.
Teachers, the public service, the protective services and other workers have settled wage and salary negotiations this year.
Howai said yesterday: “Even before we settled we had identified the funding for it so that is in place.“What we did not do in all cases is to include it in the actual budget of this current fiscal year and therefore will have had to go back to Parliament [last] June to get the appropriations.
“For the recent ones that we have agreed [with], the additional allocation will also not be in this budget [and] we have to include it in the appropriation for next year.”
He insisted however that “the cash will be available to the Government because we have already put things in place to ensure the cash flow to make the payments is available.”