Nov 30, 2012 News Comments Off on Negotiations on issues at university not going well – UGSSA
Dialogue on wages, salaries and working conditions for all categories of employees between the University of Guyana (UG)’s unions and a negotiating team are not going very well, says Dr. Melissa, Ifill, Vice President of the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA).
During an interview with this publication yesterday, Dr. Ifill disclosed that the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association and the University of Guyana Workers’ Union have been advised that another negotiation session is set for next Monday, December 3.
She related that from that meeting the Unions will decide the way forward, since this is a critical juncture for this semester.
The first semester for this academic year was interrupted when lecturers and other staff protested poor working conditions and the termination of three lecturers’ contracts by the University’s Council. Two of the lecturers were issued new contracts.
However, the Ministry of Labour was able to avert a widespread strike in late February and Unions and UG’s Administration signed Terms of Resumption. As part of that agreement, the Administration was expected to meet the Unions and the negotiating team within one month of the Unions submitting a Memorandum of Demands on salaries, emulation for workers and other issues within their respective bargaining units.
According to Dr. Ifill, attempts at keeping meetings between the Administration and the Unions are being made, but the problem lies with the University’s Council. She explained that for the negotiations to commence, two Council members are required to be present. However, their participation has not been forthcoming. In fact, of the four meetings scheduled, only once did two Council members attend.
In a press statement issued in October, Dr. Ifill had stated that Council members failed to attend two meetings previously scheduled with the UG negotiation team in June 2012 following the submission of the Unions’ Memorandum of Demands in May 2012.
Following the signing of the agreement in February, Dr. Ifill had noted that one of the most promising outcomes of the meeting was the Administration’s stance on the World Bank loan which is expected to improve the University’s delivery of Science education.
However, to date, employees and students are awaiting the evidence of the implementation of the US$10M World Bank University of Guyana Science and Technology Support Project. This project is linked to the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and will be based in four Science faculties: Agriculture and Forestry, Natural Sciences, the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
The project is expected to be implemented over a five-year period and would see the improvement of laboratory and building infrastructure at four faculties, comprising 14 buildings; providing the laboratories with scientific equipment to enable the delivery of practical science education and research; and establishing of a campus-wide internet network.
According to Dr. Ifill, the status of this project remains unknown to employees and students. She emphasized that all is known is that the agreement between the Government of Guyana and the World Bank has been inked. In addition, the personnel for the project have been identified, but no names have been released.
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