'Christmas' back pay outstanding

Chief Personnel Officer Daryl Dindial. - File photo
Chief Personnel Officer Daryl Dindial. - File photo

Although back pay was promised in time for Christmas, many public bodies that accepted the chief personnel officer's (CPO) four per cent wage increase still have staff yet to collect their payments almost five months later.

Fire Service Association head Keone Guy said of the 2,300 officers who were supposed to receive their back pay, only about 50 per cent received payment by Christmas as promised. He said between January and March an additional 35 per cent received their payments. However, he said, 15 per cent of workers are yet to receive their promised back pay and a proper explanation for the delay.

"We are quite pleased by that number so far. However, we stand in solidarity with the remaining 15 per cent who...up to date, still have not received their retroactive payments nor have they been informed as to the reason for the lengthy delay," he said.

He said the association has been in constant contact with the chief fire officer on the outstanding payments and is working to have the arrears settled.

"We've been given general excuses of hurdles that they've attempted to overcome. The greatest challenge being the unavailability of the auditors to conduct the audit of the financials. Presently the fire service does not have any permanently attached auditors and as a result, we are dependent on those supplied by the Ministry of National Security as well as the Defense Force."

Although this is the reason they were given for the delay, he said the association is aware there may be other challenges faced. The Fire Service Association accepted the CPO's four per cent offer for the periods 2014 to 2016 and 2017 to 2019 in June 2023.

Meanwhile, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) head Giddeon Dickson said there are some 30 per cent of officers yet to receive their back pay.

He told Newsday of the outstanding, some 11 per cent were being held up because the officers were on extended sick leave. However, he said that leaves 18 per cent of officers awaiting their payments.

"We know it is causing undue pressure and anxiety and hardships to our officers who would have been clinging on to the legitimate expectation of having been paid that back pay since December or by the latest January month-end, we as an association is aware the commissioner's office would have made several interventions to get it done," he said.

He said the payments are expected to be completed by June.

The TTPSSWA accepted the CPO's four per cent offer for the periods 2014 to 2016 and 2017 to 2019 in February 2023.

Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers' Association (TTUTA) president Martin Lum Kin was unable to give exact figures on how many teachers received their back pay but said the majority were paid with those outstanding being due to Human Resources issues.

TTUTA accepted the CPO's four per cent offer for the periods 2014 to 2016 and 2017 to 2019 in May 2023.

The other entities that have accepted the CPO's offer are the Amalgamated Workers’ Union (AWU), the Prison Officers’ Association (POA), the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force and the All Trinidad General Workers’ Trade Union (ATGWTU).

Delivering his $54 billion budget in the House of Representatives in October, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said $1 billion would be set aside to give these bodies back pay in time for Christmas. Shortly before this deadline, Imbert said on X.com that $900 million was paid out.


"‘Christmas’ back pay outstanding"

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