Second tranche of payment expected by next month end – Duncan
General Secretary of the Guyana Labour Union (GLU), Carvil Duncan, is confident that the Georgetown municipality will by the end of next month afford the municipal workers it represent the remaining 50 per cent of their 2007/2008 increased pay package.
The municipality last month made good on its assurance to the union to pay the workers an initial 50 per cent of the increase, which was recommended by compulsory arbitration.
The process came into being as a result of the intervention of Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir, after the two parties (union and municipality) became deadlocked in their wages and salaries negotiation.
More than $38 M was owed to the workers as part of the municipality’s obligation to pay a seven per cent increase for the year 2007, and six per cent for last year which was recommended by the compulsory arbitration.
In excess of $19 M of the retroactive increase has already been paid to the workers. And according to Duncan during an interview with this newspaper yesterday, the municipality by way of letter had informed the union that it is prepared to pay the workers the remaining 50 per cent.
Based on the content of the correspondence, Duncan said that the municipality will be able to secure the necessary funds in order to pay off the workers when they receive their wages and salaries for the month of March.
However, neither Deputy Mayor Robert Williams, nor the city’s Public Relations Officer, Royston King, were able to confirm with certainty that a decision was formally made to pay off the workers at a stipulated time.
At a municipal statutory meeting held last month, it was proposed that the leave passage allowance of officers be deferred until the workers were paid in full, a proposal which was once again highlighted when the council met yesterday.
Councillor Patricia Chase-Green was forced to question whether the proposal was still in effect even as she pointed out that there should not be evidence of discrimination as it relates to who gets paid.
Chase-Green’s argument was readily embraced by City Mayor, Hamilton Green, who disclosed that the council had some time ago agreed that on a regular basis a group should review the payment afforded to workers with a view of prioritising the municipality’s meagre revenue available.
According to the Mayor, that decision has in fact been breached, thus the need for the Acting Town Clerk, Ms Yonette Pluck-Cort, to ensure that it is reintroduced forthwith in order to prevent a case of favouritism.
Last month the municipality was able to secure the requisite sum to pay workers mainly through its rates and taxes collection, thus the municipality is urging tax payers to continue to pay up their taxes to boost the current financial situation.
It is, however, the view of Mayor Green that the municipality is still tasked with trying to balance paying the workers and meeting its other obligations to the city.