by Linda Straker
- Errors made with some employees’ salaries for November
- Education Ministry working to clarify the issues
Government has acknowledged that errors were made with some employees’ salaries when Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Department complied with the Cabinet conclusion to deduct salaries from public officers who did not work on specific days during the recently suspended industrial protest.
“It has been brought to our attention that several teachers, who have reported for duty during the strike days, resulting from the industrial impasse, have had deductions made to their salary, for the month of November 2018,” said a news release from the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Religious Affairs.
Empathising with those affected, the ministry said that it is currently working to clarify the issues related to these deductions from employees’ salaries and those affected should report the matter to the relevant personnel or department.
“This Ministry has made arrangements to collect information regarding deductions made in error and will submit these corrections, for immediate payment. Affected teachers can contact their District Education Officer, or this Ministry, on Thursday, 29 November between 8 am and 4 pm, to report any inaccurate deductions. This Ministry looks forward to a quick verification and, where required, reimbursement process.”
The release explained that the information which the Education Officers used to verify which teachers attended school, during the strike days of the industrial impasse, was verified through communication with principals, the school register and visits to some schools.
“Therefore, in a case where a teacher did not sign the register; where the principal did not provide the information, or where the Education Officer did not meet the teacher at the school, the possibility exists that there may be a salary deduction,” said the release. The ministry admitted that it was aware that deductions were not made across the board.
On Wednesday, Rachel Roberts, President of the Grenada Public Workers Union (PWU) confirmed that several public officers who participated in the industrial protest by staying off the job various days during the month of November are reporting significant deductions from salaries.
In mid-November Government declared that it would not pay public officers who participated in the industrial protest which is centred around the union’s demand for a 25% on gratuity for retiring officers. Government is offering 2%.
A memorandum from the Cabinet Secretary to all Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Department including the Chief Personnel Officer instructed that there should be deductions for teachers who stayed off the job on 5, 7, 13 and 14 November, while for Public Workers Union membership the instructions were for 13 and 14 November.
Some teachers have reported that more than $1,000 has been taken out of their salary. Following the instructive memo from the Secretary to the Cabinet, union leaders had threatened dire consequences if government had proceeded with its threat to remove the money.
The unions and government have since returned to the negotiating table and the new rounds of negotiations are set for 7 December 2018.
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