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BWU head urges Gov’t not to let employers get away with not paying NIS

Trade unionist Toni Moore has called on the Government to deal with unscrupulous employers who refuse to pay contributions to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), including those already deducted from workers’ salaries.

She charged that some of these delinquent bosses owe the NIS as much as $80 million after deducting contributions from their workers’ wages and salaries and not paying them in.

“They know who they are,” the General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) said in the House of Assembly on Friday evening as she contributed to debate on the National Insurance and Social Security (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

“You go into their business places and you have no evidence that the company is not thriving – customers galore, long waiting lines but they ain’t paying into the NIS. And this is something that has been allowed to obtain from administration to administration.

“And that is why, Mr Speaker, I also welcome the changes that are being proposed to change the structure of the NIS so that it doesn’t fall into government but that the board really has more flexibility to deal with these situations.”

The St George North Member of Parliament said that what was even worse about these employers was that when they got into a bind, they turned to the Government for relief.

She urged the Mia Mottley administration to make sure that it “does not join hands with people who are not doing right by workers”.

“There are companies in Barbados who are known – who the inspectors have identified – not to be in compliance with the National Insurance system. They don’t pay in their portion of the NIS contribution but worse still, they don’t pay in the worker portion. The worker portion is not theirs. It is deducted from the worker’s salary for the worker to be paid into the National Insurance,” the BWU boss said.

“Yes, a consideration in fixing the demographic challenge is more people coming in, but we can’t bring in more people on top of bad practices where we have been allowing unscrupulous people to get away with murder.”

Moore also encouraged workers to check behind their employers to ensure payments were being made on their behalf.

She stressed that far too often, employees found themselves in difficult situations in the worst of times because they assumed that right was being done by them. (KC)

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