– says govt already budgeted for it
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) is calling for a 12 per cent interim salary increase for all Government workers.
The union, at a press conference yesterday, also called for increases of several allowances, which had remained the same for the past 10 years despite a steady rise in the cost of living.
Flanked by several GPSU officials at the Regent Road headquarters, union President Patrick Yarde, also noted that a measly $200 meal allowance is way below what is required. The irony of the situation is that in some Government agencies, allowances have risen as high as $2000.
Yarde made his case with the point that money remittances to Guyana have shown a steady decline, and families are experiencing additional financial hardships.
The union official referred to a GPSU press conference on March 28 in which the union referred to the allocation for the revision of wages and salaries for 2009, of $2.3B which was reflected in the Current and Capital Estimates passed by Parliament on February 26.
If that money is equitably distributed among workers in the public service, it would result in a payment of no less than 12 per cent across the board, Yarde said.
Despite a call to make the increase back in March, Government has failed to do so, he said.
He pointed out the increasing number of cases of members applying to the GPSU’s credit union for monies to pay telephone and other utility bills, a strong indication that workers are finding it more and more difficult.
“The minimum wage being offered to this group of workers in essence does not reflect the true realities since public servants with very limited resources continue to keep the wheels of government turning and are key to sustainable future development of Guyana.”
GPSU also noted that no increases have been paid to workers in the semi-autonomous agencies. While these agencies are statutorily delinked from the Public Service, in most cases, increases are paid similar to that paid in the Public Service.
“We firmly believe that these increases are justified and would certainly contribute to the achievement of Goal No. 1 of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) in Guyana, “Eradicate Extreme Poverty”, where 1999 data showed 35 per cent of Guyanese live in poverty.”
GPSU claimed that in September, it submitted proposals for increases in wages, salaries and allowances for public servants for the year 2010-2012.
“Accompanying these proposals, the union shared with the government details of a study it conducted of a basket of necessities and the current costs at price levels in 2008 which highlighted the inadequacy of pay received.”
The union acknowledged that while the two proposals will not end poverty, it will truly reduce the percentage of public service workers who are living in such a situation by 2015.
Recently, President Bharrat Jagdeo indicated that the government was looking to give public servants a salary increase. But he refused to disclose how much and when.
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