Government eyes December 19 for Christmas back pay

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Allyson West –

Public Administration Minister Allyson West said the Government hopes to give public servants their backpay along with their December salaries.

In a voicenote to Newsday on Sunday, West said Government always intended for the backpay to come together with the month’s salary on December 19. She said special attention is being focused on the Ministry of Education as it works toward the deadline. West said additional resources are being provided to those who need it, particularly the Education Ministry.

“It continues to be challenging because the Ministry of Education in particular has a significant number of teachers on their payroll but we are, as I said, working with them to try and get it done. So fingers crossed we will get there,” she said in the voicenote.

She reminded that all public servants will not benefit from the back pay but rather those categories who accepted and settled outstanding negotiations.

“The PSA’s negotiations have still not been concluded so that the payment of arrears on December 19th will be going to those public servants who are represented by trade unions which have in fact signed off on their negotiations.” She said these are the Prison Service, the Fire Service, the Police Service and teachers.

Last month, former permanent secretary at the Education Ministry was transferred out after he reportedly wrote to Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, saying the backpay payments would not come by the promised deadline.

He allegedly said they would only be able to be pay the 17,000 members of the teaching service, including retirees, by May 2024 despite the promise from the Finance Minister in his October 6 budget presentation for backpay to be paid out by Christmas 2023. Last month, Gadsby-Dolly said the payment should come before the end of the year but did not give a specific date.