Nov 30, 2012 News Comments Off on Public servants to get 5% increase
– to continue negotiations for new wages, salaries agreement
Government yesterday announced a five percent across-the-board increase for public servants.
The increase to salaries and wages will be retroactive to January 1, 2012 for all public servants employed in ministries, departments not under ministerial control, regional administrations and those who are engaged on contracts “against positions reflected on the inventory of the traditional public service and also those who are contracted against positions that are not on the inventory of the traditional public service”.
According to the government, this action has been taken to avoid the disappointment of workers who have expectations of a salary increase payout before Christmas.
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), the main bargaining union for workers, has been complaining that government for the last several years has been arbitrarily bypassing them and each year would announce the increases, in contravention of agreements and norms.
However, government yesterday said it is still aiming to arrive at a new “multi-year wages and salary agreement”.
“The Government wishes to reiterate its commitment to ensuring that workers receive a living wage, and will continue its participation in the ongoing negotiations between the workers’ representatives and the Government with the intention of ultimately arriving at a multi-year wages and salary agreement”.
Recently, GPSU complained that allowances and other benefits for public servants have not been increased for years now and government, in a clear attempt not to recognize the union, has been sidelining representatives and refusing to meet despite several attempts.
Last week, GPSU’s President, Patrick Yarde, said that talks over wages and salaries, and of a new agreement, had broken down between the union and government and reached a deadlock.
The union, in expressing disappointment, stated that it was a deliberate attempt by “Government to frustrate and stultify efforts to end the 17-year imposition of arbitrary rates of wages and salaries”.
Yarde said that a meeting was requested by the union since earlier this year to discuss the union’s three-year proposal of wages, salaries and allowances. The proposal, he said, was forwarded to the Government since 2009 and amended following last year’s elections.
Yarde however pointed out that the two entities could not have their discussions earlier, since the government representative, Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Public Service Ministry Hydar Ally, requested time, after disclosing that he was not familiar with the happenings of the public workers in relation to their union.
Yarde said that in early September, he urged the PS to meet again, and only managed a meeting after threatening to go public with workers’ plight.
The GPSU head said that government had refused to negotiate and has not increased workers’ travelling allowances for the past 17 years and meal allowances for the past 16 years.
He said public service workers are receiving the same travelling rate they received in 1995 when gasoline was $200 per gallon, while noting that every year in Parliament, the Government put up revised rates consistent with current market prices for the maintenance of the vehicles and other things.
The GPSU official said last week that he was expecting government to follow similar patterns and announce an “unrealistic” increase.
“The union is of the opinion that the Government is preparing itself to hijack the negotiation process and to unilaterally impose an unrealistic award on the poor, employed public servants.”
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