Government announces escrow account for back pay

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Public sector workers could be closer to getting long-awaited back pay when the government fulfills its promise to set aside half a million dollars each month in an escrow account.
During yesterday’s post-Cabinet meeting, Daryll Matthew, the national festivals minister, said $500,000 per month will be specifically set aside for the public employees who are already owed.
“The issue of pack pay is a vexing one. There are over 10,000 government employees in Antigua and Barbuda; it is a debt that has to be paid. The strategy here is to try and accumulate as much funds as possible in this escrow account so that perhaps by the end of the year we’ll begin to start making significant payment on this back pay,” he said.
Matthew added that the government does not plan to have the issue of outstanding payment hanging around for too long.
Since returning to office on March 22, there have been several government departments owed monies for raises that were unpaid for years, allowances and other payments.
One of the most recent actions taken against the government was last week Friday when over 100 employees from the Antigua Port Authority walked off the job and through the streets to take their plight to the steps of the prime minister’s office.
The workers who claimed they are owed back pay from since 2009, recently learned that a decision was reached for them to only get three years’ worth. The employees, who are represented by the Antigua Trades and Labour Union and the Antigua Barbuda Workers Union, said they will not be bullied out of their six years’ entitlement.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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