The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) is insisting that the Government meet with the organization within five days to discuss the longstanding issue of public servants wages and salaries. In a missive, the organization charged that there has been no meeting between the Government and the Union, despite claims by the Public Service Minister, Jennifer Westford during her 2014 budget debate speech that the Administration has been meeting with the Union for a favourable outcome in the increase of wages and salaries
for this year.
The GPSU said it is, “very concerned that no action has so far been taken to fulfill the commitment given publicly by President Donald Ramotar and the Honourable Minister since the Union was never invited to any meeting with the Government so far for 2014 to address this sensitive, important and long outstanding issue of increases in Wages, Salaries and Allowance for public servants.” They said that as a consequence the Executive Council of the GPSU mandated its President, Mr. Patrick Yarde to dispatch a correspondence to the Permanent Secretary, Public Service Ministry, Mr. Hydar Ally expressing the Union’s displeasure with the manner in which the matter was being dealt with and requesting that a meeting be convened soonest, within five days to commence negotiations for Wages, Salaries and Allowances for the year 2014, without prejudice to all other outstanding wages and salaries matters.
It was stated that the GPSU submitted proposals for Wages, Salaries and Allowances for the period 2013-2015 to the Government of Guyana in a correspondence dated May 13, 2013. The Union pointed out that during the debate on the 2014 National Budget, Minister Webster in a statement carried in the state media on Monday April 7, 2014, quoted, that “to say that there is no salary increases for public servants is inaccurate and misleading. The fact is that the quantum of monies to be paid to public servants will originate from the collective bargaining process between PSM and GPSU.”
It was further noted that the Minister in the said state media disclosed that, “ …the PSM and the GPSU have recommenced meeting to discuss workers’ issues.”The Minister on April 10 last also told Kaieteur News that her Ministry was in discussion with the GPSU and discussions have been cordial, while talks seem to be going smoothly. She mentioned that the collective bargaining mechanism had been activated and, “hopes are high that the two sides can come up with decisions that would be mutually favourable.”
The issue of wages and salaries increase has been on the front burner in the dispute between the Government and the Public Service Union for a number of years, with the Government “arbitrarily” imposing various percent increases on public workers. The Union maintains that the Government bypasses the collective bargaining agreement mechanism and dictates what workers should receive.
For the last few years, public servants have been receiving a five percent increase and last year they planned not to take the imposition lightly.
Massive protests were launched across the country with public workers downing tools and parading the streets for better increases. Public servants have cried out against what they say are meager salaries and then the subsequent imposition of meager increases.
The Union says it is still in the fan out stage before it can re-active protest action against the 2013 increases of wages and salaries.