Mar 24, 2016 News
– accuses Finance Minister of compromising negotiations
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), during a press briefing on Tuesday, said that it sees no “necessity” for the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report to obstruct other essential and urgent matters.
The Union also accused Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, of “compromising” negotiations after remarks made where he stated that Public Servants should n0t look out for a “significant” salary increase anytime soon.
The Union said, on Tuesday, that despite occurrences of “displeasures and the existence of experiences of disappointment”, it has been, up “until now”, encouraged by A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) administration’s posture.
The union sated that it is still optimistic of the coalition government’s intentions to take meaningful initiatives to qualitatively improve the performance of the Public Service.
In this regard, the Union wishes to state that it attaches particular importance to the work of the CoI into the Public Service which, they understand, is designed to proffer recommendations that have to do with the welfare and wellbeing of the Public Service as a whole.
But on the other hand, the Union sees no necessity for this report to obstruct other “essential and urgent matters.”
“We say this since at another level there is also the vexed issue of the wages, salaries and allowances levels of Public Servants, a matter that has long reached proportions of crisis, and one which, on purely humanitarian grounds, simply cannot, any longer be set aside even for the briefest period.”
The CoI was established to inquire into, report on and make recommendations on the role, functions, recruitment process, remuneration, conditions and other matters pertaining to the personnel employed in the Guyana Public Service.
The CoI is also expected to determine measures to improve the efficiency of the public service, to review the methodology used in the classification and recruitment of public servants.
The inquiry is also slated to conduct a detailed examination of how the salaries and wages of public servants are determined and allocated; review the age of public servants’ retirement and make recommendations in this regard.
Yarde said on Tuesday that the GPSU wishes to make it clear that it is not its expectation that the incumbent political administration will “emulate the practice of its predecessor and the union will not, under any circumstances, tolerate the continuation of that practice.”
“Even as we await the outcomes of the deliberations of the Commission of Inquiry, we recall nothing in its Terms of Reference that links it to negotiations on wages, salaries and allowances.
“Indeed, the GPSU is clear in its collective mind that the sense of emergency associated with the question of wages, salaries and allowances means that it must, at this stage, be put on an entirely different level, that is, it must be addressed with the immediacy that it deserves,” a most recent release from the union stated.
In that context, it is the considered opinion of the GPSU that there can now be no question of any further delay in commencing the discourse between them and the Government of Guyana, within the framework of collective bargaining, on the question of meaningful increases in wages, salaries and allowances for Public Servants.
“Setting aside our wish to make this clear to the President and Government of Guyana, the GPSU wishes to restate its concern over what it is convinced, is a clear suggestion in a recent statement made by the Minister of Finance, that he is personally not disposed to granting negotiating space to the Union in the process of what we expect will be fair and open negotiations with the Government of Guyana in the shortest possible time.”
The GPSU said that it believes that the statement made by the Minister is clear and that it represents an attempt to “compromise” the “imminent” negotiations.
“The GPSU cannot be expected to negotiate freely in an environment that is compromised even before the talks begin. Specifically, the GPSU wishes to call on the Government of Guyana to, immediately, make a pronouncement on its readiness to commence negotiations with the Union leading to an agreement on meaningful increases in public servants’ wages, salaries and allowances.”
In the process of immediately preparing the way for fair and unprejudiced negotiations, it is the view of the Union that, in the interest of all concerned, the government provides the union with a clear assurance that the recent pronouncement by the Finance Minister is not intended to send a signal of any likely attempt to “prejudice” the negotiations.
These negotiations should be done consistent with the spirit and intent of the relevant ILO Conventions dealing with collective bargaining. These conventions were ratified by the Government of Guyana.
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