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Finance ministry warns workers of ‘rest’ action

Published: 
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Watson Duke

One day after the Public Services Association (PSA) urged workers of the Board of Inland Revenue and the Customs and Excise Division to “rest” on Thursday and Friday, the Ministry of Finance issued a “reminder” to employees about the regulations governing an unexplained leave of absence.

In a release, the ministry said, “November 9th and 10th are regular working days.”

Officials quoted from the Civil Service Act Chapter 23:01, Civil Service Regulations Chapter IX Part I: 80 which read, “Casual absence from work with the prior approval of the Permanent Secretary or Head of Department shall be recorded as annual leave.”

Sub-section 81 continued, “Casual absence from work without the approval of the Permanent Secretary or Head of Department may be treated as leave without pay.”

Sub-section 85 (1) advised, “Every officer shall be entitled to 14 days sick leave a year provided that he tenders a Medical Certificate written under the hand of a registered Medical Practitioner, “ while sub-section 85 (2) read, “An officer who is away from duty, due to illness, for a period not exceeding two days shall not normally be required to tender a Medical Certificate, but any leave taken under this provision shall count in calculating the total sick leave for the year.”

“The Permanent Secretary may require an officer who habitually takes advantage of this concession to present himself to a Government Medical Officer for a Medical Examination.”

Referring to it as a, “veiled intimidatory tactic,” PSA president Watson Duke said although he was taken aback by the directive, they will be moving ahead with the action.

He assured the workers will not be cowed into backing down.

Duke declared, “They will not be afraid to take whatever action is necessary in defence of their jobs.”

He in turn accused the ministry of selling the workers lies that their livelihoods will be preserved if and when the T&T Revenue Authority (TTRA) is established.

He said, “These workers will do what they have to do, they know the rules and they know how to make full use of the rules.”