BWA workers not entitled to five per cent pay hike – Sir David

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If the Government of Barbados accepts the legal advice of former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, workers at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) would not benefit from the five per cent pay hike for public servants announced by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Mottley in her June 11 mini-Budget and approved by Parliament on August 14.

Sir David was retained by BWA Chairman Leodean Worrell to submit a legal opinion, which he prepared in conjunction with his daughter, attorney-at-law Lynne-Marie Simmons, and submitted on August 22.

However, after reviewing several key legal instruments, including the Civil Establishment Act and the Public Service (General) Order 2018, Sir David submitted that “it is our opinion that the employees of the Authority are not entitled, as of right, to a salary increase of five per cent on the ground that employees in the Civil Establishment of Government have been accorded such an increase”.

He also pointed out that “to the extent that the Public Service  (General) Order 2018 contains no reference to the Authority and makes no provision for an increase in the salaries of employees of the Authority, it is not axiomatic that such employees are entitled to an increase in salary of five per cent merely because officers in the central Government have been granted such an increase.

“The Order does not apply to employee of the Authority,” the legal opinion made clear.

However, in light of a previous position adopted by the Authority and apparently accepted by the Barbados Workers’ Union, Sir David pointed out that “there may well be a legitimate expectation on the part of staff that the Authority will act in accordance with previous practice or policy”.

This is based on a November 3, 2014 letter former Senior Human Resource Officer Wendy Carrington-Holder to the then general manager of the BWA in which she stated at paragraph two that “there have been no pay increases other than the normal salary/wages increase agreed to by the Central Government and unions and adopted by the BWA for the periods 2005/2006 to 2009/2010”.

“Having regard to this letter, it may be that the employees will assert that they have a legitimate expectation that the Authority will act as it did in the periods referred to by Mrs Carrington-Holder,” the legal luminary said.

Sir David, who also reviewed several pieces of correspondence exchanged between the BWA and the BWU within the last three to four years, also suggested this assertion may well be bolstered by comments made last year by the union’s General Secretary Toni Moore to the effect that  “when the Government negotiations were settled and agreement reached for ten per cent over three years . . . this adjustment was also applied to the BWA salaries because the assimilation was still ongoing”.

However, Sir David made it clear that in order for BWA employees to benefit from the five per cent increase a written request to that effect would have to be issued by Wilfred Abrahams, the minister responsible for the BWA.

“If the Authority is minded to ask for an increase for its employees, the minister responsible for the Authority should be requested to agree that all employees of the Authority should be granted an increase in salary or wages with effect from April 1, 2018,” he said in the eight-page document, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY. 

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BWA workers not entitled to five per cent pay hike – Sir David

admin

If the Government of Barbados accepts the legal advice of former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, workers at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) would not benefit from the five per cent pay hike for public servants announced by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Mottley in her June 11 mini-Budget and approved by Parliament on August 14.

Sir David was retained by BWA Chairman Leodean Worrell to submit a legal opinion, which he prepared in conjunction with his daughter, attorney-at-law Lynne-Marie Simmons, and submitted on August 22.

However, after reviewing several key legal instruments, including the Civil Establishment Act and the Public Service (General) Order 2018, Sir David submitted that “it is our opinion that the employees of the Authority are not entitled, as of right, to a salary increase of five per cent on the ground that employees in the Civil Establishment of Government have been accorded such an increase”.

He also pointed out that “to the extent that the Public Service  (General) Order 2018 contains no reference to the Authority and makes no provision for an increase in the salaries of employees of the Authority, it is not axiomatic that such employees are entitled to an increase in salary of five per cent merely because officers in the central Government have been granted such an increase.

“The Order does not apply to employee of the Authority,” the legal opinion made clear.

However, in light of a previous position adopted by the Authority and apparently accepted by the Barbados Workers’ Union, Sir David pointed out that “there may well be a legitimate expectation on the part of staff that the Authority will act in accordance with previous practice or policy”.

This is based on a November 3, 2014 letter former Senior Human Resource Officer Wendy Carrington-Holder to the then general manager of the BWA in which she stated at paragraph two that “there have been no pay increases other than the normal salary/wages increase agreed to by the Central Government and unions and adopted by the BWA for the periods 2005/2006 to 2009/2010”.

“Having regard to this letter, it may be that the employees will assert that they have a legitimate expectation that the Authority will act as it did in the periods referred to by Mrs Carrington-Holder,” the legal luminary said.

Sir David, who also reviewed several pieces of correspondence exchanged between the BWA and the BWU within the last three to four years, also suggested this assertion may well be bolstered by comments made last year by the union’s General Secretary Toni Moore to the effect that  “when the Government negotiations were settled and agreement reached for ten per cent over three years . . . this adjustment was also applied to the BWA salaries because the assimilation was still ongoing”.

However, Sir David made it clear that in order for BWA employees to benefit from the five per cent increase a written request to that effect would have to be issued by Wilfred Abrahams, the minister responsible for the BWA.

“If the Authority is minded to ask for an increase for its employees, the minister responsible for the Authority should be requested to agree that all employees of the Authority should be granted an increase in salary or wages with effect from April 1, 2018,” he said in the eight-page document, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY. 

The post BWA workers not entitled to five per cent pay hike – Sir David appeared first on Barbados Today.

Next Post

Canada stands ready to help – Legault

Canada has pledged to support Barbados’ economic recovery programme. Following a meeting with Prime Minister Mia Mottley and other Government officials on Tuesday, that country’s High Commissioner to Bridgetown Marie Legault told reporters that Canada stood ready and willing to help the island where possible. “We looked at a broad […]