Nov 25, 2008 News
The compulsory arbitration process intended to resolve the deadlock status of wage negotiations between the Guyana Labour Union (GLU) and the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown is expected to commence today at the office of Justice Prem Persaud, who is one of the three named arbitrators.
A meeting was held yesterday in this regard at the office of the Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir.
GLU General Secretary Carvil Duncan said that he is optimistic that the matter will go in favour of the union, in which case workers will be eligible for a 20 per cent increase, representing 10 per cent for 2007 and another 10 per cent for 2008.
It is the belief of the General Secretary that the arbitrator will in fact be bound to rule in favour of the union, since the Council had earlier this year paid about 40 per cent of its workers, primarily officers, a 10 per cent increase for 2008.
Duncan pointed out, though, that it is possible that the panel of arbitrators could argue that the 10 per cent that was offered to the other workers could be the amount the Council is able to pay the workers.
He, however, reflected on a statement issued by the Council that it was only able to pay the 10 per cent increase, and clearly stated that it could not afford to do same for 2007, a notion which was readily accepted by the other union that represents the paid workers.
The decision of an arbitration process can be challenged in court once it is proven that the arbitrator did not deal with the matter in a just manner.
Duncan explained that the municipal workers are in dire need of additional finances, noting that for last year alone there was a record 14 per cent inflation rate.
“Several other companies recognised this situation and provided relief to their workers in one way or another. Some gave their workers hampers, some gave across-the-board increases, but the City Council did nothing…,” Duncan opined.
He pointed out that the matter could have been easily resolved if the municipality had simply paid 10 per cent to all workers earlier this year, rather than await the completion of the arbitration process.
He added that even if the process sees the workers receiving 10 per cent for 2008 and about five per cent for last year, it would be satisfactory enough for the union to accept.
“They (the Council) were able to pay themselves 10 per cent, but they chose not to pay the workers…This just shows where their interest lies.”
Meanwhile, it is the belief of an official close to the arbitration process that it should be compulsory that such a process, which is being facilitated by Government through the Ministry of Labour, be exposed to the public.
The matter is one of public interest and is one which will be funded by taxpayers through the compulsory arbitration process which was effected by Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir.
“It is of interest to the public, and I think that the press should cover such sittings,” said the concerned official recently.
However, with or without the presence of the press or members of the public, the process will ultimately decide which entity’s position on the matter will be favoured with regards to the wage increase situation.
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