The country’s lifeguards are expressing gratitude to Tourism Minister Stephen Cadiz, for keeping his promise to pay them their backpay, which they began to receive yesterday.
An estimated 200 lifeguards and 50 maintenance workers had threatened to withhold their services over the Easter weekend because of unfulfilled promises by ministry officials. The money owed to them; between $31,000 – $36,000 per person, should have been paid by March 27.
The back pay is owed for the period 2008 – 2010, under a collective agreement signed on their behalf by the National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW), and Chief Personnel Officer, Stephanie Lewis, in late 2012.
In a statement yesterday, Cadiz said he was pleased that the distribution of monies to the lifeguards had commenced and commended the lifeguards once again for the exemplary work that they have been doing in saving lives.
“The lifeguards risk life and limb on a daily basis to respond to the needs of citizens and are often the main persons sought in emergencies due to the secluded nature of some beach locations.”
NUGFW branch president for lifeguards, Augustus Sylvester thanked the minister for keeping his word and said he was hopeful that at some point a meeting could be held with Cadiz to discuss the way forward for the lifeguard service