A significant number of municipal workers was able to take home hefty pay cheques yesterday, as the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown (M&CC) made good on its promise to not only pay salaries on the stipulated pay date, but also to pay 50 per cent of the retroactive increase owed to workers represented by the Guyana Labour Union (GLU).
More than $38 M were 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 compulsory arbitration.
In excess of $19 M of the retroactive increase were paid out yesterday through the various banking systems utilised by the workers.
Public Relations Officer of the M&CC, Royston King, in an invited comment, said that by early yesterday afternoon, cheques were already being signed by Town Clerk Yonette Pluck, and sent off to the various banks.
King expressed optimism that most, if not all, of the workers would have been able to access their money yesterday. Other workers who are not paid through the banks were summoned from the various departments to uplift their cheques, King disclosed. According to him, too, the municipality had planned to make contact with the General Secretary of the GLU, Carvil Duncan, to inform him of the development.
Duncan, on Monday, had related to this newspaper that he was awaiting the outcome of yesterday to decide whether the union would have a need to consider any action against the municipality. The General Secretary had disclosed that the union had agreed to an arrangement whereby 50 per cent of the monies would be paid to the workers, with the understanding that further payment discussions would ensue in two weeks’ time.
The municipality was able to secure the requisite sum to pay workers mainly through its rates and taxes’ collection.
It was suggested, at the municipality’s most recent statutory meeting, that the payment of leave passage allowance be deferred in order to meet the payment obligation. This newspaper was, however, unable to confirm whether such an undertaking was engaged to meet the payment deadline.
Up to Monday, City Mayor Hamilton Green was pessimistic that sufficient money would have been accumulated to fulfill the obligation of paying the workers. He had pointed out that the municipality still had to try to balance paying the workers and meeting its other obligations to the city.
For this reason, he had disclosed, the municipality has been urging tax payers to pay up their taxes and so help boost the current financial situation of the M&CC.
In this regard, the municipal public relations department has been reminding citizens that the payment of rates and taxes could be done in four instalments, the first quarter being on February 1, the second quarter on April 1, the third quarter on July 1 and the fourth quarter on October 1, 2009.
Some persons are complying and are paying their taxes, the mayor noted, even as he opined that some defaulters have been placed before the courts.
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