Equal work, equal pay

Equal work, equal pay

Deputy Prime Minister Egbert Doran when asked about the letter by Windwards Islands Teachers Union (WITU) reported in Wednesday’s paper (see related story) struck a constructive note. He had not seen the document yet but said the issue of some teachers failing to get their vacation pay while colleagues in public education did, continues to be on the Jacobs II Cabinet’s front burner.
The allowance had been suspended in July 2020 as part of a 12.5% benefit cut due to the COVID-19 crisis and as condition for related liquidity support from the Netherlands. A decision was made to pay it to public sector employees again this year, despite lack of approval from the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT and the Kingdom Council of Ministers in The Hague.
However, staff of subsidised school boards are not part of government’s salary administration. Their pay is the responsibility of independent school boards that receive subsidy and usually follow government’s lead in these matters.
One of the questions is to what extent they – on the one hand – strictly applied the austerity measure and – on the other hand – had their funding reduced accordingly back then. This may vary per case, which is why it needs to be handled directly with the schoolboards as the minister indicated.
Once the full pre-pandemic amount has been received, restoring the allowance should not be a big problem. But if the funding is simply not available for whatever reasons, government must get involved, because WITU President Stuart Johnson made a valid point in urging to end this form of discrimination.
After all, an important principle of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is also that of equal work, equal pay.

The Daily Herald

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