PM Gaston Browne announces commencement of payment of back-pay to public servants

Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Thursday announced that his administration had commenced the payment of back-pay to public servants as promised a few months ago.

PM Gaston Browne announces commencement of payment of back-pay to public servants
PM Gaston Browne announces commencement of payment of back-pay to public servants

Antigua and Barbuda: Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Thursday announced that his administration had commenced the payment of back-pay to public servants as promised a few months ago.

He said that the Treasury of Antigua and Barbuda has confirmed that the payments are being made to the banks between Thursday and Friday.

After months of negotiation, public sector workers began to receive their owed back payments early Friday morning.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who made the announcement yesterday, explained that government workers with at least one month’s salary owed to them will be receiving their money.

He explained that it may take time for all government workers, especially recent retirees, to receive their payments.

“Those who would have retired during the negotiating period, they too are eligible [but] they are not in a position to get pay today because we have to do the research and determine when they would have retired and what percentage of the back pay is due to them,” the Prime Minister said.

He added that it might take more than two weeks for all workers to get paid.

In October, Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced that public servants would receive a long-awaited salary increase – and the corresponding back pay dating back some years – no later than December.

However, concerns were raised when the Prime Minister warned in Parliament earlier this month that workers may not receive their monies in full until 2023, with no definitive timeline given.

Earlier this year, several protest actions occurred within the public sector including by employees at the Central Board of Health, state media ABS, the Fiennes Institute, National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), and the Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital.

The protests were in relation to the outstanding payment owed to workers by the government.

Prime Minister Browne stated that every individual who is eligible will be paid. Those are in the service currently who are eligible for full months to heal immediately because that’s easy to do; they have to guard with and just pay them there, the full amount, but those that have to be prorated because they may have left the service before the end of the negotiating, period, or those who example who came in subsequent during the negotiating period but may not be eligible for public space. 

“To us, have to be calculated. And as I said before, it will take some time to calculate over 1,000 such payments because there’s a job each. For example, when they were preparing to make the payments, they took an additional two to three weeks to complete payments to about 400 workers you talking about well, So this is significant in terms of the physical calculations, “said the prime minister.