The manipulation of negotiations for public servants’ wages and salaries is a criminal act; Head of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Patrick Yarde says, and throws the weight of his accusations squarely on the shoulders of the Public Service Ministry’s Permanent Secretary (PS), Hydar Ally; who he believes, played an integral role in deceiving the nation’s public workers.
Yarde is convinced that the brunt of evidence which shows a patterned system against public workers, points more to the PS, whose job is to facilitate the negotiations between government and the union representatives. This is especially the case, Yarde says, since Ally would have told the union throughout the year that he was awaiting word from his superiors as to the way forward with negotiations; while he was the same person to sign the circular which gave public servants the meager five to eight percent increases.
In a missive dispatched to the PS last week, the union expressed grave concern that the PS should issue PSM Circular No. 4 of 2014 Reference No. PS: 18, in light of the union and government not having across the table discussion about increases for public workers. “This circular was issued without any prior consultation or notice given to the GPSU. We are of the opinion that the issuing of the Circular in the present circumstances constitutes an act of deceit, is unethical and conflicts with your Constitutional responsibilities as a public servant,” Ally was told.
The union further said that signing the circular, “is a display of bad faith with the PSM/PSU relationship as is required by 23(1) of the Trade Union Recognition Act of 1997.” This is so, the body said because “You (Ally) are the Head of the Public Service Ministry and the Principal Government Officer that would engage the GPSU in negotiations conducted in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement between the GPSU and the Public Service Ministry for the Avoidance and Settlement of Disputes.”
According to the regulations, either the Public Service Ministry or the Public Service Union may request a joint Conference between the representatives of the Union and the Public Service Ministry to discuss any matter affecting the general conditions of employment (including rates of pay) which is not being dealt with under Clause 3, and which in the opinion of the parties is of sufficient importance to be dealt with under this Clause; and such Conference shall be held without unreasonable delay.
“On matters of general policy the Executive Council of the Union shall have the right to meet the Permanent Secretary of the Public Service Ministry within ten (10) days of receipt of a request in writing for such a meeting. None of the above clauses shall be interpreted to preclude the right of either the Ministry or the Union to make use of any existing or future national arbitrational or other industrial machinery that may be legally established from time to time”, the rules continued.
GPSU said however, that despite Ally’s correspondence to the union dated June 12, that “…the Public Service Ministry is currently engaging the Ministry of Finance on modalities regarding the issue of salary negotiations for public servants,” and another on September 15 where he stated that “…this Ministry is still awaiting guidance on the issue of Wages and Salaries negotiations for 2014 from the relevant agencies,” he went ahead and signed against public workers.
“Notwithstanding these direct requests and commitments, you issued Circular No. 4 of2014 Reference No. PS: 18th dated November 28, 2014 which grants increases in wages and salaries for 2014.This single act arbitrarily brought to an end a process of bargaining which the GPSU had legitimate expectation would have been continued after you had received adequate instructions from the Ministry of Finance.”
GPSU said, “We felt betrayed by your action and are compelled to form the opinion that you have acted in collusion with the administration to deny the Public Servants of Guyana a fair deal.” The GPSU requested an immediate response from Ally to explain his conduct and stated that, “we will take appropriate action consistent with our obligations under the Trade Union Laws of Guyana.”
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