– workers settle for 8% increase
Workers of the country’s cash-strapped power company have settled for less than
the salary increase they initially bargained for in order to stave off an increase in electricity bills, company and union official said yesterday.
An estimated 600 workers of the Guyana Power and Light Company (GPL) will take home an 8% increase in their salaries for this year; this is against the 10% that they first put on the table by their union, the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE).
The increase puts the company’s 2011 wage bill at $2.5 billion, which the company could not afford were it not buoyed by loans from the government and overseas lenders to meet expansion and other investment projects.
The agreement also provides for increases in allowances; increases which were not granted over the last four years. General Secretary of NAACIE, Kenneth Joseph, said that the union decided on accepting the 8% counter offer given consideration to the fact that the company would have been forced to increase electricity rates to meet the wage bill. The acceptance of a lower offer means electricity consumers are “comfortable” for at least another year, Joseph posited.
The agreement was reached after just two meetings between the union and the company.
Aeshwar Deonarine, GPL’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, said that unstable fuel prices continue to be a headache for the company. At the end of the year, the utility’s fuel bill would add up to a staggering $23 billion, he said, several billions more than in 2008 when the price of oil was at its peak.
Largely because of this, he said, the company is in serious financial difficulties and increase in salaries is something it can ill-afford.
Chief Labour Officer, Yoganand Persaud, who witnessed the signing of the agreement, said he was pleased that the company and the union were able to reach an agreement after just two meetings.
In fact, Joseph called the achievement “historic” and expressed hope that talks could begin early in the New Year for increases for 2012. The increase in salary announced yesterday does not take into account GPL’s managerial staff. An agreement is being worked out with the Guyana Public Service Union, which represents that category of workers.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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