…union response possible in New Year
Eleven days after it issued a 48 hour ultimatum it is still unclear what action the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) will be taking after another year of imposed wage and salary increases by the Central Government. From all indications if there is to be any action against the arbitrary wage increase, it will not be done until the New Year.
This was the response by GPSU’s First Vice President, Mortimer Livan when an update on the union’s strategy was solicited. Livan told Kaieteur News that since the union issued their 48-hour ultimatum to the government, there has been no response from any of their representatives.
The Public Service Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Hydar Ally has also disregarded the union’s letter for an immediate explanation into the part that he played in signing off on a circular which authorized the arbitrary payment of five to eight percent increases for public workers this year.
Livan had told Kaieteur News last week that the union has been trying to amass their members in an effort to discuss the ongoing issues involving the government. He had explained that several meetings were also ongoing since any reaction to the government’s continued imposition has to be deliberated on with union members.
On Saturday he said that members are being mobilized and are being prepared for whatever action that is decided upon. He reiterated however that anything taking place will occur in the New Year. With the Christmas season drawing near, this time of year has not proven ideal to host any action of resistance.
Last year when the government imposed five percent on public workers, countrywide protest began. However, about two weeks after protestation commenced, the crowds dwindled until the demonstrations eventually died down. The union had promised however to continue their resistance in the New Year but this did not occur as the representatives claimed that they were still seeking a way forward.
At the time, when this publication spoke to some public workers, who had declined to have their names published, they expressed doubt that anything would manifest following the government’s imposition. Kaieteur news had spoken to several persons, some of whom were on the picket line, and they were not confident that the government would heed their concerns. They were also unconvinced that the union would effectively represent them since for several years they have been unable to break the chain of imposed increases.
However, two weeks ago when the government announced that it would be paying Public Servants five to eight percent increases retroactive, the GPSU summoned an immediate press conference denouncing their actions.
GPSU President Patrick Yarde was adamant that this time around, he is willing to lead beyond the 1997 strike which saw public servants downing their tolls for 57-days. The GPSU has blamed President Donald Ramotar for the imposed sums since they claim that the Head of State had promised citizens that there would be cross table discussions before any increases are announced. Public Service Minister Jennifer Westford has offered no comment in light of the GPSU-government wage dispute.
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