GPSU rejects “arbitrary” 5% hike
– -warns of industrial action
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) has rejected government’s five per cent increase to workers’ wages and salaries, yesterday issuing a one week ultimatum for parties to return to the negotiating table.
According to the union which represents public servants, failure by Government will have serious consequences for the labour relations environment of Guyana.
Last week, government announced a five per cent across-the-board increase for public servants.
The increase in salaries and wages will be retroactive to January 1, 2012 for all public servants employed in ministries, departments not under ministerial control, regional administrations and those who are engaged on contracts “against positions reflected on the inventory of the traditional public service and also those who are contracted against positions that are not on the inventory of the traditional public service”.
GPSU described the increase as an “arbitrary determination and unlawful imposition” on public sector worker’s salaries and wages.
In recent years, Government has been announcing raises for public servants around Christmas time, much to the anger of GPSU which says that they are being sidelined in negotiations.
According to the union’s General Secretary (ag), Deborah Murphy, in the letter, GPSU and the Government of Guyana have a legally binding agreement for the avoidance and settlement of disputes.
“Further, your conduct is also in conflict with the Government’s obligations under International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 151, Labour Relations in Public Services, which has been ratified by the Parliament of Guyana and is in force. Hence the GPSU is demanding that you as the government’s representative act in good faith…”
The letter was also sent to President Donald Ramotar; Prime Minister Samuel Hinds; Director General of the International Labour Organisation, Guy Ryder; Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Gopaul; Minister of Public Service, Dr. Jennifer Westford; Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall; Leader of the Opposition, Brigadier (Retired) David Granger; General Secretary of Public Services International, Sister Rosa Pavanelli and Chief Labour Officer (ag) Charles Ogle.
“What is being manifested is portraying that the working class would be experiencing more of the same of what previously existed from the previous regime- continued abusive practices, violations of ILO conventions, disregard for the laws of Guyana and non compliance with the terms of legally binding collective agreements.”
GPSU said that its President, Patrick Yarde, and a number of its members attending the PSI 29th World Congress in Durban, South Africa, were acquainted with the “appalling details of this atrocity” on the evening of November 29th, 2012.
The issue was raised with PSI officials and GPSU received from affiliates in attendance, approximately 100 signatures of solidarity.
GPSU said that it is now moving to have its workers “stand united and firm in confrontation of this assault and to be in full preparedness to take appropriate action to have this conflict resolved in their favour, in the interest of their families…”