TRADE unionist Vincent Morrison says employers should be making arrangements to repay workers who had taken pay cuts at the start of the COVID-19 crisis to help keep companies afloat.
He told the Jamaica Observer that employers should treat the funds saved by companies by withholding portions of salaries as loans and that it is unfair to ask workers to permanently bear the loss.“I don’t think it should be a giveaway, I don’t think the workers should be subsidizing the firm. If they take a pay cut to allow the company cash flow to operate efficiently that should be a temporary arrangement and it should be treated as a loan with the normal interest payment to the workers, even over 12 months. It can’t be that you ask the workers to take a permanent cut. If the finances of the particular organization are that bad, and you have to come to that determination, then the workers should be repaid,” Morrison stated. He also argued that wages are so skewed in the Jamaican labor market that many employees are living off payday loans and borrowing for transportation to get to work. “Most workers don’t earn enough to take pay cuts. There are companies that have resources to cover the period of the COVID situation,” he said, noting that some entities have used COVID-19 as illegitimate justification to reduce workers’ pay.