The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) said it is committed to ensuring equitable salary/wages and improve working conditions for its employees.
The statement came in response to strike action by the fire department on Saturday, June 18, which was responsible for some of the flights cancelled on the day in question.
The industrial action, NewslineTCI understands, was solely based on salary proposal, as some firefighter, it is understood, believed that the proposed scheme was not equitable.
Conceding that the industrial action was about the announced phased salary bump, the TCIAA stated that the strike came without official warning.
“Today’s industrial action occurred without any formal notice issued to the TCIAA and in response to a recent announcement by the TCIAA to its staff that it was immediately introducing a phased salary increase to all staff,” the TCIAA statement said.
Further outlining the salary packages and their mechanisms, the TCIAA stated: “To this end, the fire service received a 15% increase to be applied to all staff within the department. The announcement advised that this 15% increase was the first step of a two-part process leading to the introduction of a salary grading scale, during which time an additional increase was to be anticipated.
“To prepare for the introduction of this salary pay grade scale the TCIAA proposed in its budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year and additional sum to be reserved to meet the demands of these salary increases once they occurred. The Turks and Caicos Islands Government approved this provision during its 2022 budgeting session.”
Declaring that it endeavors to be transparent to its staff as well as the public, the TCIAA stated that it continues to review staff salaries for the purpose of implementing a grading scale which meets the ethics of both staff remuneration and the fiscal management of public funds.
“The TCIAA will continue to work with its Team Members, including the Fire Service to wholly and adequately address salary and other concerns affecting the work environment. It is important that stakeholder and the public are aware of the open and transparent manner in which the TCIAA endeavours to address these legacy staff issues,” the statement continued, adding that the recent ground-breaking for a new fire hall and air traffic control tower speaks to the commitment the TCIAA has for the wellbeing of its staff.
“Notably, the TCIAA has recently broken ground for the construction of a new Fire Hall and Air Traffic Control Tower, another effort being taken to improve work conditions at the TCIAA. It is further hoped that the anticipated redevelopment of the Providenciales International Airport would address several other workplace issues which both the board and management of the TCIAA share concerns about with its staff,” the statement further noted.
In the meantime, in thanking the Premier, Hon. Washington Misick and Deputy Governor and Head of the Civil Service, Her Excellency Anya Williams, for their intervention to end the industrial action, the TCIAA reiterated that it was “genuinely committed” to developing the entity into a desirable and model work environment but warned that such priority would not happen suddenly.
“Addressing all of the legacy issues will not be an overnight fix, but the TCIAA remains committed to doing it because in all honesty, our staff deserve it,” the statement concluded.