President of the Public Services Association (PSA) Watson Duke says Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s plan for a Revenue Authority “is on steroids and moving full steam ahead”.
Duke, accompanied by representatives from the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) and Customs and Excise met Imbert, his permanent secretary and other support staff yesterday afternoon at the Ministry of Finance.
He told reporters, while the meeting was cordial, there were no assurances given on pertinent questions asked.
“It was not a clarification meeting, but one where he would have collated all the questions we would have asked, and his response was he would get back to us tomorrow with the list of things we would have asked so as to ascertain whether those were areas of concern. We have set another meeting for December 4 when the answers to those questions would be provided,” he said
Duke said there were questions about job security, whether workers who moved from the BIR and Customs and Excise to the Revenue Authority would have secure jobs to which there was no answer.
He said no assurances were given when asked whether workers who were earning a non-contributory pension would move across with those pensions until a pension plan was settled with the Revenue Authority.
Duke said he got no response on the placement of officers and whether they could find redeployment within the public service with similar jobs. He said they also touched on the minister’s statement that workers would transfer over to the authority with no less terms and conditions of employment.
“These workers were all civil servants and they have, within the legislation under Section 23, the right to be represented by the PSA. We are concerned about the meeting because it offered them no comfort. We are still troubled, in the east, the west, the north, the south and in Tobago,” he said
Duke said he warned the minister to hold the next meeting before the next PSA election, which will be held on November 27, because after the election he would be coming back with double power.
“I will not be the same Duke.”