The Executive of the University of Guyana (UG) is scheduled to meet with the Unions, as they seek to address issues raised over the financial management of the institution.
This past week, the University of Guyana Workers’ Union (UGWU) and University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) expressed concerns over UG‘s spending. In three days of picketing exercises, lecturers and employees demanded answers for the expenditure. The workers spoke of what they described as “top heavy spending” by UG’s administration.
According to representatives of the Union, the expenditure is being questioned, largely because it benefits the top brass of the University, while the masses suffer.
The Union called for an independent audit of the books.
According to the staff, UG has need for more furniture and teaching materials.
“Instead, we are seeing expenditure in areas that we don’t consider a priority. UG is spending monies which are not accounted for.
The University is paying for accommodation, food and travel of experts, but fails to provide proof of how the monies are expended or whether these persons are actual experts.
“We believe that there is some level of misappropriation as it relates to the finances and we want to see some scrutiny.
Also of major concern to the Unions is the pay hike for staff.
UG is wasting monies on lavish dinner parties, talks, lectures, first class flights, and high-priced hotels, we believe that the University could divert some of the funds to address the inhumane conditions, staff and students are subjected to work under,” a staffer attached to the University stated.
Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Professor Ivelaw Griffith has since rejected the accusations. He said that UG cannot afford to divulge funds to other areas at the moment. He said that the administration has nothing to hide and is willing to sit down with the Union to hash out the issues.
Kaieteur News understands that the office of the Vice Chancellor (VC) has since sent out a memorandum requesting a meeting with the executives of the Unions.
President of the UGSSA, Dr. Jewel Thomas told Kaieteur News that the meeting is scheduled for today.
“As such, industrial action has been postponed for the day, since UG will be hosting its career day activity. We do not wish to disrupt that activity. But we are going to meet with the VC to see whether we can reach a suitable resolution.”
Thomas had told members of the media that the call for this audit has stemmed from the inability of the University to provide an increase in teachers’ salaries beyond three and four per cent, because the University “cannot afford it”.
“The response came saying that they really don’t have any more money for 2018 [to pay] wages and salaries, but they would sit and negotiate the other things, i.e. the uniform allowances, etc.,” Thomas highlighted.
“Why are we going to sit and discuss anything with you if you say you have no money?” We need to have a look at what is going on with the university’s finances.”
She noted the Chief Labour Officer, who manages the Labour Department within the Ministry of Social Protection, convened conciliation proceedings between the administration of the University of Guyana and representatives of the University Unions.
The Labour Department is hoping to address the impasse, which was recently developed with respect to the 2018 wages and salaries negotiations involving the parties.
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