St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Auxiliary or non-established government employees are being assured that the move to set up a pension plan for them is still in the pipelines.
More than 1200 civil servants fall under this category, where they are not entitled to occupational pension when they leave the public service. Established workers, those who have tenure with the government are eligible for a government-paid pension after 15 years of service.
The promise of a pension plan for auxiliary workers has been bandied about for more than ten years.
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris raised the issue on Tuesday during a session of the National Assembly, speaking about the newly established committee to review the proposed Civil Service Pension Plan for Auxiliary Employees.
“The government could do no less than but to address the plight of its own group of workers who despite being promised way back in 2007, that they would become pension eligible, still to this day are waiting to realize the assurance of this sort of benefit in their retirement years. And so having heard the cries and the groans of the government auxiliary employees formerly described as non-establishment workers, this government mandated a committee to look into this critical matter and to advise the government of the way forward.”
The Committee met on May 17 and has been charged with advising the government on how many persons are affected and its financial obligations to such a pension scheme.
“The meeting of this committee was convened on Wednesday May 17 at the parliamentary lounge at government headquarters. Present were the cabinet secretary, the chief personnel officer, the representative from the legal department, the deputy financial secretary, the accountant general, a representative of the labour department, a representative of the general auxiliary employees and of course the human resource manager. The meeting was presided over the by the chief personnel officer and she provided very insightful information as to the state of play. Some of the information provided confirmed the agony of the non-establishment workers over the long wait. As the meeting concluded the accountant general in the ministry of finance, the human resources and legal department were charged with bringing the situation up to date having regard to the number of employees affected and to advise the government of the financial and other imput required to bring this initiative on stream.”
The government is mulling paying the auxiliary employees a 3% interim salary increase which would enable them to pay their pension contributions.