The 239 employees of the Institute of Forensic Sciences (ICF), who started the absentee movement on Monday, to demand salary increases they described as “deserving a rest”, returned to work this morning.
Roughly 95% of employees are working after Governor Pedro Pierluisi yesterday announced $3 million in salary increases, Carlos Velez Miranda, president of the ICF Employees Union, said.
According to Feliz Miranda, in the last two weeks of August 15, checks will begin at an increment of $650 per month for three months. In the meantime, a reclassification and compensation plan will be implemented that will reflect a frequent salary increase for December, at about $1,000 per month, which, according to the union leader, is still less than the salary in the United States.
Miranda Velez warned that if the promise was not kept, operations would be affected and ICF would go out of business. “Resignations will continue,” said Feliz Miranda, noting that since 2019, about 60 employees have left the agency to look for jobs in the United States. He noted that it “must be a competitive wage” to avoid employee flight.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Director, Dr. Maria Conte, who has always supported us, and the Governor for listening to us. The FSB did not express itself,” said Feliz Miranda.
ICF headquarters in Rio Piedras woke up empty yesterday when about 239 of 246 employees took a “due break”.
La Fortaleza issued a statement yesterday noting that Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi confirmed that he complied with the ICF and appropriated the money he had budgeted that he submitted to the Legislative Assembly, but it was not approved. “These funds are necessary for the institute to maintain the credits it received this year,” the statement said.
According to La Fortaleza, the FOMB has approved a budget that does not include money allocated by Governor Pierluisi, which is why the CEO is authorizing the use of available federal funds so that the Institute of Forensic Sciences is able to meet scheduled salary increases and purchase equipment.
“I am giving directive that $3 million will be appropriated from the federal funds we have. This increase in funds for the Institute has already been contemplated in the budget I submitted to the Legislative Assembly to ensure that the ICF continues to meet its service standards, allowing it to receive various credits In addition, I recently signed a measure to grant administrative autonomy to the ICF, so the agency will not enter into a rating and bonus scheme that will provide increases for most public servants in January 2023 and they will have to make their own plan.” The governor, who also committed an additional million in state funds to the ICF to purchase equipment such as Safe Kits.
Similarly, the CEO has instructed the Office of Management and Budget to submit a new proposal to the Board of Directors for the allocation of state funds in the upcoming budget, as this will provide stability and effectiveness to the Institute of Forensic Sciences.
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