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Teachers not entitled to back pay

Local school teachers are being asked to disregard a Cabinet minute about outstanding back pay to public servants that has been making the rounds as they are not qualified to benefit.

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Union Teachers (A&BUT) Ashworth Azille issued the appeal yesterday after some educators took to social media to express their frustration about not receiving the amounts which the government is currently disbursing to its employees.

“I am urging my members not to pay any attention to the Cabinet minute, but simply to go on the basis of what was disclosed to them prior to the submission of that Cabinet minute,” Azille said.

The Cabinet minute details an arrangement between the government and the Antigua and Barbuda Public Services Association (ABPSA) for retroactive pay for civil servants, who would have worked between January 2003 and December 31, 2017, and one month’s pay of current gross salary in lieu of outstanding collective agreement contracts for the same period.

Azille explained that it would appear that educators are confused by the contents of the document. He said the agreement between the A&BUT and the government is separate and apart from what the ABPSA would have negotiated for its members and that teachers are not owed back pay.

“We were able to sign an agreement with the government to change our negotiating period from 2017 to 2018. In lieu of that period that has gone unnegotiated, teachers were advised they would receive a one-month basic salary and so that is what we are eligible to receive, any other reference to back pay ought not to be a matter for teachers to be concerned with,” Azille said.

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