Kaieteur News – The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) is up to its tricks. Having demanded that all nurses benefit from the allowance which was announced for ‘frontline’ workers in the health system, it is now up in arms over the two-weeks bonus which is being offered to all healthcare workers by the Ali administration.
The union latest peeve is that the bonus is being offered arbitrarily and was not part of a negotiated settlement with the union. The union seems to have forgotten what constitutes a bonus. A bonus is not subject to negotiation. It is payment of gratis, not an entitlement. It is determined exclusively and at the discretion of the employer.
A bonus is not intended to be a long-term agreement. It is often paid based on the availability of resources. This means that it is outside of the scope of collective bargaining.
A bonus is not a benefit. It is considered as a financial compensation outside of an expectation. This is why it is deemed a bonus. No worker therefore has a legitimate expectation to a bonus and therefore such rewards fall outside of the collective bargaining process.
The President was very specific when he made his announcement. He did not say that he was extending the risk-allowance to all health workers. He offered instead a two-week bonus which means that he did not create any permanent entitlement.
The President has not set any unusual precedent. In August, French President, Emmanuel Macron, paid homecare workers a bonus of 500 Euros each.
The payment of the bonus, to the healthcare workers, would have involved sacrifices for others. He also went to explain that in order to pay this sum, they had to cut programmes and find extra resources in order to pay the bonus. The cutting of programmes means that some public expectations would have to be deferred. Those affected by the cuts in government programmes have a greater grouse than the GPSU.
Over the past five years, cat had gotten the GPSU’s tongue. The GPSU did not complain when the Coalition arbitrarily imposed a Christmas bonus and then cut it the next year. But it is now extremely vocal against the present administration.
The GPSU’s claim to collective bargaining was ignored for five years by the APNU+AFC. There was never in those five years, between 2015 and 2020, any agreement on wages and salaries.
Not a criticism was heard then about the bonus which was paid. But that is the mystery of the ways of the GPSU. It always becomes militant under the PPP/C.
In 1999, it launched a bitter 55-day strike against the Janet Jagan administration. The strike was infiltrated by political operatives. When the strike ended, union leaders had to be escorted to their homes because the workers turned against then. The police found a cache of crude incendiary devices – the type used to make channa bombs, at the union headquarters. But no one was ever charged nor has the union ever offered an explanation as to what it was doing with those objects.
If the GPSU is peeved over the bonus which the government is offering to all health care workers, it should order its unionized members not to accept it. But it is not going to do this. Instead, it will toe the usual line that the bonus should be accepted as an interim payment. This is the line which the GPSU adopted in the past when it was opposed to arbitrary salary increases, yet insisted that the workers should accept the very increases to which the union was opposed.
We are not in usual times. There is a fiscal emergency. This is why an emergency Budget had to be passed, the bulk of the monies of which were already expended by a Coalition administration which had extended its stay in office by a full five months.
The GPSU has lost credibility a long time ago. It has never established itself as a responsible union. Its consistency is to be found in its militancy against PPP/C regimes. Yet, the present government has not ignored the GPSU the way the Coalition did.
When the nurses began their protests to benefit from the risk-allowances, the government did meet with the nurses in the presence of the union. It has held talks with the union. This is a much-improved engagement than what the GPSU enjoyed under the Coalition.
But some unions cannot change. The GPSU is doing what it has always done best since 1992.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Jan 26, 2021– Makes donation to Police Force Four outstanding Police Officers from the Rose Hall Town Police Outpost were honoured by the ten cricket teams of the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club, MS...
Jan 26, 2021
Jan 26, 2021
Jan 25, 2021
Jan 25, 2021
Jan 25, 2021
Kaieteur News – The stories of Guyana in 2020 is inexhaustible, many of which needs highlighting because they bring... more
Kaieteur News – Guyana is getting peanuts at present for its oil. Instead of the projected US$300M which was estimated... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]