…action should be directed against the State – Witter
General Secretary (ag) of the Guyana Trades Union Congress, Norris Witter says that the government must desist from its campaign of harassment against the Georgetown City Council.
He was at the time speaking at a press briefing held at the Critchlow Labour College where he said that the union abhors the dirty tactics of the state to starve the Council of revenue and use the workers political tools.
“The workers must not allow the state to continue this practice and must direct their disgust where it ought to be…That is at the Presidential Secretariat where these nefarious plots are hatched.”
According to Witter, the Government as the largest owner of property in the city and as such the largest source of income as it relates to taxes has consequently been delinquent as it relates to the payment of taxes.
He drew reference to the fact that the Government is yet to pay some $92M for second and third quarter.
“One would have expected that like other governments around the world that this government would have been setting the example,” said Witter as he pointed out that the present administration has been the most delinquent of the taxpayers.
He said that when an assessment of the deliberate attempts not to pay their taxes on time coupled with the statements emanating from the Government officials as it relates to the Council, is examined, “then it is clear that there is a diabolical plan to harass the Council.”
Witter said that what is happening is that the government is agitating the employees of the city to take action against the Council.
“What we are saying is that the workers’ action should be directed against the State.”
Witter posited that if the Council were to be paid what they are owed then the Council would be in a position to pay their employees.
Witter said that the GTUC is currently meeting with several stakeholders as it relates to the way forward in seeking to have the government be more compliant in their payment of taxes.
He even chided the administration for what he called “using unions in the furtherance of their cause”.
Only recently, the Guyana Labour Union had proposed strike action by the workers, should payments not be made after the Council was unable to pay at the stipulated time.
However this was averted.
The union represents almost 700 of the 900 odd workers employed by the Municipality, while the Guyana Local Government Officers Union represents the officers.
The Mayor of Georgetown, Hamilton Green is on record as saying that they can’t pay the workers if they don’t have any money.
For regular properties, the Mayor recently revealed that Government owed some $92M but for some reason had only opted to pay a total of $40M and had even sent an order dictating how that money should be expended.
And according to the chief citizen, the Municipality is yet unable to extract from the Government the sum of $52M which is still owed.
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