Government on Friday rubbished claims by the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) that it has misused at least GUY$3 billion that have been set aside for public servants’ wages and salaries for 2013.
A senior official of the Finance Ministry explained that the GUY$GUY$4,403,509 that were allocated for the revision of government employees’ pay-packets was not confined only to those already on payrolls.
The official explained that money is usually set aside in the budget to cater for new recruits and employees who are promoted during the course of the year.
“That allocation is not to pay salary increases alone. That allocation is to pay a number of things including recruits, employment cost shortfalls in budget agencies,” said the official.
Ministries, government agencies, institutions and security agencies, the official said , does not have money set aside in their individual budgets for additional employment costs other than what is on each individual payroll at the time of preparing the budget. “It’s not predictable so we only budget for actual positions,” said the official.
Though the source did not mention this, government usually announces an annual one-month bonus for members of the Disciplined Forces closer to year-end.
The Finance Ministry official emphasised that “the economy is doing very well” but at the same time said government could not afford to pay more than a five percent wage and salary hike for 2013.
The comments by the official, who spoke on strict condition of anonymity, came against the background of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) claiming that the money in this year’s budget was enough to make a 15 percent pay-out retroactive to January 2013.
GPSU President, Patrick Yarde has accused government of misusing the remaining GUY$3 billion on infrastructural projects.
The union’s General Council intends to decide very shortly on whether to issue a strike ultimatum to government.
Nurses at Guyana’s key publicly-owned hospitals in Georgetown, Linden, New Amsterdam and West Coast Demerara- were Friday on the last of a two-day sick-out.
At the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, mostly student nurses were on manning the wards and the Accident and Emergency Unit under supervision by the handful of Staff Nurses and Supervisors.
Prior to the sick-out, nurses at those hospitals as well as employees of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and a number of other state agencies had been staging midday picketing demonstrations outside their places of work and the Office of the President.
Lamenting the meagre salary increase being offered, the GPSU has produced its own calculations to show that the lowest paid public servants who currently earn GUY$37,657 would now earn GUY$1,883 with the five percent. For more than 75 percent of the public service workforce, the increase would be less than GUY$2,500.00. A Meteorological Officer, Field Auditor and Staff Nurse would take home GUY$2,107 more after tax; an Accountant, Valuation Officer, Ward Sister, Superintendent of Works and a Guidance and Counseling Officer would earn an additional GUY$2,942 after tax and a Chief Accountant, Agriculture Officer, Fishery Officer and a Matron would earn GUY$3,583 after tax