Public Works Minister, Ian Pinard, has promised that employees at the Public Works Corporation (PWC) will soon receive outstanding payments from government.
According to Pinard, who was a guest on state-owned DBS Radio’s Talking Point Programme on Thursday, payments are expected, “either today or tomorrow.”
For two days in a row frustrated workers at the PWC locked the gate of the Corporation’s premises as they staged a ‘peaceful protest’ demanding late payments of four fortnights.
They say protest will continue until a government minister addresses their concerns.
But Pinard said the workers will get paid.
“We are working on it to make sure that they receive an outstanding payment from us of over $300,000, they should be receiving very soon, in a couple of days,” he stated.
He noted that the monies are owed by the government to the Corporation for work done over the past couple of weeks.
“We are making payments to them. The Corporation will get those payments,” he promised.
Pinard stated further that the PWC cannot continue in its present state, pointing out that its expenses are sky high.
“We know that the salary, monthly wage of the Corporation is way too high, so basically every month is a problem to pay staff,” he explained. “We have salaries close to $200,000 every month…and that is way too high.”
In fact, Pinard noted, revenue generated by the PWC cannot sustain salaries.
“You have other bills that you have to pay, utilities and other administrative cost, so the expense of the Corporation is way too high and that is why what came up is a sustainable plan for the Corporation, which include restructuring,” he noted.
He said ways are being explored to improve the PWC.
“Over the past years this government has been working and trying to see what we can do and we realize that the only way we can do it is, to do an overhaul which means doing restructuring, looking at finances, looking at the equipment and everything surrounding the Corporation,” he explained.
However, he said, restructuring of the PWC is not going to happen quickly.
“It is going to take a little time, but I am hoping in the next couple of weeks that we will finalize it and put it together,” Pinard said.
He went on to compare the Corporation with a pair of pants with holes in it.
“You put money in it, it is going to fall all the time,” he said. “So it keeps leaking and at the end of the day when you have a Corporation that is not sustainable, you are going to have difficulty…”
He revealed that 90 percent of the Corporation’s income is generated from the government in terms of projects, road maintenance and the like.
“So we continue to make sure that we give the Corporation work to make it sustainable, but because of the large number of employees that they have, the large expenses that they have, it is difficult to sustain based on the projects that they get from the government,” he said.
Pinard is hoping that the matter will be resolved later on Thursday.
“The board is meeting with the union today at 2:30 pm and hopefully we can resolve this matter,” he stated.