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Gov’t threatens to withhold payment to striking workers in Suriname

Published:Tuesday | January 4, 2022 | 11:19 AM
Public Works Minister, Riad Nurmohamed - Contributed photo.

PARAMARIBO, Suriname, CMC – The Public Works Employees' Organization (WOOW) has condemned the decision of the Government not to pay workers who have been staying off the job since April last year.

“Since he took office, we have written numerous letters to the minister asking for a target date on which matters can be resolved, but nothing is happening,” said union president Michael Sallons.

Since last year April, the employees have been turning up for work but would leave before midday.

Public Works Minister, Riad Nurmohamed, has criticised the action of the workers, threatening to withhold payment for the period when they are not at work.

In letters personally addressed to the workers and signed by the Deputy Director of Administrative Services, the workers have been told that paying wages for the strike period is the responsibility of the union that has called out the employees.

The authorities said that their action is in conformity with Article 28 of the Personnel Act.

But the union insists that it has been calling for a re-evaluation of all public workers.

“Since the introduction of the Fiso (Function Information System of the Government) a lot has changed and different requirements apply. There must be a revaluation,” said Sallons.

He said that there are many problems related to the work environment, adding “for example, you can't see your fingers when you go to the toilet, it's that dark.”

Sallons said while no date has been set for “which things must be in order” the union is leaving it to Nurmohamed “to give us a target date because for some matters he depends on other ministries.”

He said he will go into further details at a news conference scheduled for later on Tuesday.

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