– “another paltry ‘freck’ for Public Servants”
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has condemned the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) government for their move to arbitrarily increase wages and salaries for public servants.
One day after the government announced that it would be increasing salaries of public workers by five and eight percent, the opposition coalition disclosed their rejection of the government’s intention.
They said that the Peoples Progressive Party/Civic Administration’s arbitrary imposition is of “another paltry ‘freck’ for Public Servants’ salaries.” The APNU, in a public statement, demanded that the PPP/C enter into “sincere and serious” negotiations aimed at paying reasonable and meaningful increases, wages and salaries to Public Service employees.
APNU also called on the PPP Administration to “respect the collective bargaining agreement and the rights of Public Servants and their Union.”
“The annual arbitrary imposition of a small increase in wages and salaries for public employees is a clear example of the PPP/C administration’s arrogance and its abandonment of any pretense at collective bargaining.”
“APNU calls for an immediate review of the conditions under which public servants work and the payment of “a living wage” to public servants. Workers at the lowest levels – who comprise over 75 percent of the Public Service – will see their salaries increase by less than $2,500 per month with the proposed 5 percent increase,” the party said.
“Public servants are frequently unable to afford to meet some basic household expenses, utilities and transportation and often are forced to borrow money for emergencies and to settle day-to-day expenses.”
The workers, the Coalition continued, are convinced that they deserve a higher increase, particularly in light of the high cost of living.
APNU said that the PPP/C must adhere to the International Labour Organizations (ILO) Conventions ratified by Guyana’s National Assembly. This deals with the Protection of the Rights to Organize and Collective Bargaining. APNU reiterated its call for the PPP/C Administration to invite the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) immediately to engage in talks aimed at restarting the collective bargaining process and restoring normalcy and averting a crisis in Guyana’s Public Service.
The Office of the President on Saturday announced the increases for public servants. However, their announcement came as no surprise, since despite calls annually for collective bargaining; the government continues to arbitrarily impose increases of five percent on public workers. For more than a decade this has been the trend.
Last year’s imposition saw nation-wide protests from various arms of the public sector. This however did not deter the government which has offered increases of five to eight percent retroactive to January 2014.
In a press conference last Thursday, GPSU registered its frustration as they are once again unable to get the government to honour the collective bargaining agreement where the workers’ representatives and the government could sit and come up with a workable increase for both sides.
Reporters were told that GPSU had written to the European Union (EU) about two months ago about the government’s failure to honour provisions of the Cotonou and Economic Partners Agreement between the region and the EU; and requested their intervention. The letter was also copied to the various European representatives here. Last year the government came under scrutiny when it came up that some $4.4B was allocated for the workers’ increases in the budget. The government was called upon to explain where the money went and GPSU also called for a paper trail of the cash.
Parliament and GPSU are still waiting for a detailed presentation of how the money was spent.
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