Accusing the Freundel Stuart administration of violating public officers’ rights, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is demanding an urgent meeting with the Ministry of the Civil Service, Auditor General Leigh Trotman and other relevant Government agencies to resolve a pensions issue at the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA).
“This thorny issue affects the public officers who transitioned to the BRA on secondment over three years ago,” the union’s General Secretary Roslyn Smith said in a statement released today.
She explained that the fundamental issue relates to an interpretation by the Office of the Auditor General that higher emoluments earned by those public officers under the BRA, could not be treated as pensionable under CAP 25 of the Pensions Act.
“As a consequence, officers are being deprived of thousands of dollars in gratuity and pension on their retirement. This creates a disincentive for persons working with that entity,” the NUPW leader said.
The union is contending that, under Section 10 of the BRA Act, public workers who went over to the statutory board are employed on terms and conditions which are no less favourable than those they enjoyed in the public service.
“Therefore, the higher emoluments earned under the BRA should be treated as pensionable,” Smith stressed.
She explained that the process involves the transition of legacies to a board where relevant legislation and negotiated pension arrangements give a clear intent that officers should never be disadvantaged in this regard.
The union leader noted that some officers had already retired and others were about to follow suit.