…If promises aren’t fulfilled
Disgruntled workers of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) seem to have
had it with the excuses for delays in promised increase in wages, salaries, and other benefits by the company.
A protest was staged outside of the entity’s headquarters on Monday, and was followed by another such course of action yesterday. A few of the “frustrated” workers who seemed to be at wits’ end, warned that if the company does not honour its promises very soon, then there will be some exposure of the company’s “dirty secrets.”
Senior Industrial Officer of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), Dennis English, who participated in the protest yesterday, explained that the demonstration was for the outstanding 2013 increase for wages and salaries. He said that management failed to come up with an amicable resolution, and as such, it is protesting and demanding that more respect and regard be showed for the working class.
English said that negotiations started in 2013 and the Union had submitted a 30 percent increase proposal to the GGMC management department. The proposal was returned with a 15 percent amendment for the Union’s consideration. After examining it, English opined that it was felt that the amended increase would not have done justice for workers across the board.
He said while some were earning regular percentage in increases “…like a 26 percent, others only received a three percent.” He said that the Union’s proposed increase was what they wanted but after discussions, it was reluctantly agreed to that it should be at 15 percent.
However, when this was put to the GGMC board by the management department, it was rejected.
The Union representative said that he had subsequently given an ultimatum of 72 hours which expired on Friday last, and to register their dissatisfaction, employees staged protests and will continue to do so, until their message is heard.
English said that the confirmation of the 2013 increase paves the way for the 2014 negotiations.
Asked if he felt appeased by the statement of the GGMC board that it is awaiting confirmation from the Natural Resources Minister, Robert Persaud, on the increases, the workers said that they are not pleased with the delay.
GGMC in a released notice said that it has given approval for an increase in the annual Christmas voucher from $30,000 to $50,000 per month, increases in the annual bursary for the children of staff members from $25,000 to $75,000 per year, as well as increases in casual workers’ wages and the implementation of risk allowance for carpenters, lab and electrical staff.
It articulated too that the workers are being offered an increase in the life insurance for staff from $1M to $4M and the field allowance will be increased from $2,500 per day to $3,750 per day. “The annual increases for all staff will move from $75 Million to $150 Million for 2014, the notice said.
While some of the protestors indicated that they were aware of the notice yesterday, they believe that the excuse of “waiting for confirmation” by the board is “another insult” to their intelligence.
One worker said, “Man, they just want to stretch this out and make us believe that they doing something when they really ain’t doing one thing. They really don’t care about us and its long now they promising. How much longer we have to wait? We labouring for years for this company and this is how they treating us? With disrespect? If they want to confirm a set of licences for people close to them, that does not even take a day.
“If they want to confirm certain agreements with foreign companies, that does not take day. We known this business and we know that we are being pushed around, but if they continue they will all of a sudden just wake up one day and when they open the papers, they will see that the Kaieteur News or the Stabroek News got their dirty secrets airing out on the front page. Let them continue to push us.”
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