Tuesday 21 November, 2017

Watson Duke to Finance Ministry: Thursday, Friday are holidays

President of the Public Services Association (PSA) Watson Duke has responded to a recent statement issued by the Ministry of Finance regarding proposed 'holidays' which workers are taking in protest against the Revenue Authority Bill.

Workers attached to the Customs and Excise Division and the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) are threatening to stay away from work on Thursday and Friday in protest against certain measures within the Revenue Authority Bill. 

The Ministry, however, issued a statement on Tuesday reminding workers of the rules of vacation time, which require that staff apply for leave to their department heads or to the Permanent Secretary.

Duke said in a statement that workers are well aware of the rules regarding their employment, and insisted that Thursday and Friday are 'holidays'.

 

"The PSA is a bit taken aback by the latest media release sent out by the Finance Ministry. We consider this a veiled threat and we are sending a strong message to him that the workers of BIR and Customs and Excise will not be afraid to take whatever action is necessary in defence of their jobs."

“You never asked for time off when you began to sell these workers lies, when you began to mistreat these workers, having them afraid for their jobs…now you are asking these workers to apply for time off?

“These workers will do what they have to do and they know the rules and how to make full use of the rules. Thursday and Friday are holidays,” he said.

Duke said workers' jobs may be in jeopardy under the Bill and said that the Bill is unconstitutional and should require a three-fifths majority to be passed. 

He also questioned sections of the Bill which outline the appointment and control of the CEO and Board of the Revenue Authority, which would both be answerable to the Finance Minister, saying it could pose a conflict of interest.