Last update: 10-Dec-2013 10:54 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Blind Welfare workers protest over late salaries
Employees of the T&T Blind Welfare Association literally can’t see their money as since July, the association has been making late payments to its staff. Yesterday, employees protested outside of the association’s Edward Street building, after receiving “excuses” from the administration as to why they had not been paid for the last pay period in August.
Some staff members who spoke in an interview yesterday said in addition to not paying workers on time, the association had been giving pay slips stating that money was being deducted for loan payments, savings and other items, but this wasn’t being reflected on bank statements. “We don’t know what they are doing with the money...They are taking it out of our salaries so it is supposed to be paid but some people now have to pay extra interest because of late payments,” said one employee.
Joseph Laplacelier, employed with the association for more than 23 years as a handicraft worker, said as a result of staff not getting paid, the School for the Blind may not open for students next week. The issue of payments to staff follows allegations of mismanagement at the association, which the Ministry of the People announced that it would be investigating earlier this year.
Laplacelier believes the association has been mismanaging its funds. “They keep telling us that they are going cap in hand to the Ministry of the People to request a supplementary budget but they have not been able to get money yet. Everyday they tell us they are waiting to hear from the ministry but nothing ever happens,” he said. “I have to pay my mortgage, buy my groceries and pay other bills. We all have to do these things.”
According to a source, the association ran out of money allocated to them in last year’s budget in July. The T&T Guardian was unable to reach the executive co-ordinator of the association, Kenneth Seurat, at his office for comment as calls went unanswered up to 5 pm.
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