(CMR) The Cayman Islands Port Authority had decided to settle an ongoing labor dispute liability of $1.6M for staff that were working excess hours but never properly compensated for it. The decision was made over three months ago to back-pay staff who were impacted by the error.
Despite the board making the decision to settle the years-old matter at a board meeting in May, port workers have shared with CMR that they have not yet received the back pay.
The arrears steam from a reduction in working hours back in 2010. At the time, the government instructed the port to cut costs by reducing all staff hours by 10 hours per month which resulted in a 7% savings for all wages across the organization. Hourly workers had their hours and pay reinstated. However, when the monthly paid workers had their 10 hours reinstated, there was no adjustment in their pay.
This caused a shortfall for those persons from January 2019 until the present day. The workers have long argued that the money was owed and hired attorneys to write to the CIPA and threatening legal action. The port was slow to respond but did seek legal advice on the matter. The board eventually accepted that the salaried employees were to be adequately compensated for the 10 hours.
To rectify the situation going forward, the Port Director has agreed to compensate the staff to the tune of some CI$350,000 per annum. The alternative option to cut staff back by 10 hours meant they would have to hire additional staff. The decision was taken to simply keep the existing staff levels as the budget could support the decision.
At this time, it is unknown when impacted employees can expect to receive the back pay.