Following hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, pay cuts happened across the board for workers at the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) and not imposed only on lower-level staff.
Former Acting Deputy Managing Director of the BVIPA, Akeem Pickering drew that comparison while speaking on NDP radio last evening, May 4.
Pickering was at the time pointing out the stark contrast in the leadership of the Ports during the current health pandemic and after hurricanes devastated the BVI nearly four years ago.
“The management team after Irma and Maria said we’re going to have to cut salaries, but we’re not just cutting salaries of those below. We are also cutting salaries for everyone on top and so from the Managing Director, down to the Janitor, everybody got cut across the board. We didn’t just cut the salaries of those below and keep the salaries of those on top intact. Everyone got cut across the board,” ” Pickering explained.
Premier Andrew Fahie recently disclosed that nearly $480,000 was saved in staff pay cuts at the BVIPA but insisted he did not know in advance about the move.
He further said he asked the Authority to find savings from elsewhere once he was made aware of what had happened.
Give the people back their money
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Marlon Penn suggested staff should be given back monies for the pay cuts that were announced shortly after the onset of COVID-19 last year.
Penn said while there might be financial issues at the Ports, it is not for the government to put the burden on the backs of consumers, taxpayers or the low-level workers who could ill afford to shoulder that burden.
“Staff salaries were cut — the low-level staff, the daily paid workers. And we’re saying that ‘we made a saving’. But we made savings off of people who could less afford the monies that were lost –persons who were already struggling prior to the whole issue of COVID-19,” Penn expressed.
He insisted that the government must find a way to help those persons who lost income at the Ports through the pay cuts.
The BVIPA reportedly saved nearly half-a-million from cutting the work hours of its low-level workers.
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