ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, November 29, 2018 (CMC) — The Grenada government has acknowledged that it erred with the salaries of some employees, when Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Department complied with a Cabinet decision 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 reported for duty during the strike days, resulting from the industrial impasse, have had deductions made to their salaries, for the month of November 2018,” the Ministry of Education said in a release, today.
While empathising with those affected, the Ministry said it is currently working to clarify the issue, and those affected should report the matter to the relevant personnel 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… to report any inaccurate deductions. This Ministry looks forward to a quick verification and, where required, reimbursement process,” the release concluded.
The Education Ministry said the information was verified through communication with principals, the school register and visits to some school.
“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, which admitted that it is aware that deductions were not made, across the board.
Yesterday, Rachel Roberts, President of the Grenada Public Workers Union, confirmed that several public officers, who participated in the protest by staying off the job on certain days, reported significant deductions from salaries.
In mid-November, the government declared that it will not pay public officers who participated in the protest, centred around the demand from unions for a 25 percent on gratuity for retiring officers. However, the government is offering two percent.
A memorandum from the Cabinet Secretary to all Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Department, including the Chief Personnel Officer, stated that there should be deductions for teachers who stayed away from work on November 05, 07, 13 and 14, while for Public Workers Union membership the instructions were for November 13 and 14.
Some teachers have reported that more than a thousand dollars have been taken out of their salary.
Following the memo from the Secretary to the Cabinet, Union leaders had threatened dire consequences if the 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 December 7.