Dr. Timothy Harris, who once served in the Labour Administration of Dr. Denzil Douglas, is arguing that the fund is out of money.
He said the fund is in arrears by some $5.4 million saying, that he is concerned that the report from the Director of Audit has revealed that as at the end of December 2012, the Severance Payment Fund was further in deficit; it had overspent its money and was now in a deficit/overdraft situation of $5.4 million. This is over $3.7 million worse off than in 2011. The Severance Fund is out of money,” said Dr. Harris.
Dr. Harris has been quoted as saying that the timely payments of severance payments to workers cannot occur, unless the Severance Payment Fund has money from which the workers can be paid.
He charged that workers in the factories, hotels, restaurants, in the construction sector will be affected because there is no money in the Fund, they are getting a long run around to get their severance, he added. The fact that this Fund could be so depleted at this time when the economy is weak and workers are being sent home from Lutron Liamuiga and other factories, is an indication that the Douglas Regime is not taking our workers seriously, continued Harris.
The former minister said that the government has its priorities wrong. “Foreign interests are prevailing over local people. This year in an effort to fool workers the illegitimate Douglas regime added the obligation to pay long service gratuity to the Severance Fund. Not one cent extra was provided to the Fund. If the Severance Fund is depleted to the tune of $5.4 million dollars, then it cannot sustain any gratuity payments nor can it help workers,” explained Harris.
He promised that if the united opposition parties are voted in office, they will do more to ensure fair and decent treatment of our workers. “We will provide resources immediately to put the Severance Fund on a sound footing. We will grow the economy to provide full time work with decent pay for our workers. We will monitor and replenish the Severance Fund to ensure that it can meet its commitments.”