Jul 27, 2017 News
– says 2016 negotiations incomplete, but invitation extended for 2017
Although the Guyana Public Service Union [GPSU] is anxiously awaiting the continuance of negotiations with itself and Government, it is however concerned that it is being duped.
This is in light of the fact of disclosures by the union that although negotiations which had started in 2016 are yet to be completed, it has been invited by Government to commence fresh negotiations for 2017.
Speaking at a press conference held at the Union’s headquarters at Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown, First Vice President, Mr. Mortimer Livan, recalled that for the 2016 negotiations, Government had made a number of “ridiculous” offers, all of which were rejected by the union.
According to Livan, this was even after the union complied with a request from President David Granger to submit a multi-year proposal.
A proposal, according to Livan, was submitted for 2016, 2017 and 2018. The offers that followed were: 5.5 percent differentiated, 5.5 – 1 percent differentiated then a 6.6-1 percent differentiated and then a final offer of 10-1 percent differentiated.
“We wrote to the President seeking his intervention [letter dated September 16, 2016] and asked that the final offer be treated as an interim payment. The union then followed up in keeping with a Memorandum of Agreement for the Avoidance and the Settlement of Disputes…We wrote to the Ministry of Labour seeking the Chief Labour Officer’s assistance for conciliation, because at that time, we thought the talks were deadlocked,” Livan said.
But according to Livan, President Granger during the Public Interest edition of September 29, 2016, made it clear that “Government’s offer of a differentiated salaries and wages increase for public servants is not a final offer. That is what the President, David Granger, said.”
As a result, Livan said that the union had written to the President and was heartened by his reply in a letter dated December 5, 2016, which stated, “I iterate that the negotiations are incomplete, the Ministries of Finance and the Presidency will notify you of the arrangements.”
“That was the President saying that,” said Livan, who yesterday expressed concern that despite the foregoing “on Thursday July 20, 2017 the GPSU received a piece of correspondence from the Permanent Secretary Department of Public Service inviting the union to commence negotiations for the year 2017…We are talking about 2016, they are talking 2017.”
As such, Livan said yesterday that the union views this move as “a slap in the face to the commitment given by His Excellency the President who made it pellucid that no deadlock existed on negotiations for 2016. In fact, His Excellency had stated that the Ministries of the Presidency and Finance will notify us of the arrangements to continue the negotiations; for 2016 we are talking about, not 2017.”
Added to this, Livan said that the President had made it clear to both the GPSU and publicly, through the press, that negotiations for 2016 are incomplete.
Given that the union had submitted proposals for multi-years [2016, 2017 and 2018] and agreed to the Terms of Reference for an Allowance Committee and submitted names of nominees, Livan therefore insisted yesterday that “it is of paramount importance that [negotiations for] 2016 must be completed before moving on to 2017…the outcome of 2016 will affect 2017.”
According to Livan “the union views this piece of correspondence [from the Public Service Department] as an affront to the principals of good governance, the Memorandum of Agreement for the Avoidance and Settlement of Disputes – a binding agreement entered into by both parties at the beginning of negotiations”.
“At the beginning of the negotiations we said that we will follow the Memorandum of Agreement between the GPSU and the Public Service Department for the Avoidance and Settlement of Disputes…now they are telling us forget 2016, let’s move on to 2017… But we are not doing it that way, 2016 is still on the table,” asserted Livan.
To signal its dissatisfaction, the GPSU has since written to the Permanent Secretary of the Public Service Department, Ministry of the Presidency, expressing its concern. The letter has also been carbon copied to President Granger, who the union hopes will ensure that negotiations proceed within the realm of the commitment that he publicly made.
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