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GTC/GT&T retirees petition National Assembly for right pension

Opposition Leader David Granger greets several of the pensioners in the Public Gallery of the National Assembly

Retired workers of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) on Wednesday petitioned the National Assembly to be paid their “just and due” pensions in keeping with the Pensions Act.

After years of lobbying and agitation to have the matter resolved to the satisfaction of all sides, the petition was tabled on behalf of the pensioners by Alliance For Change (AFC) parliamentarian, Trevor Williams.

Currently, the pensioners receive a flat minimum pension of GUY$18,000 per month.

The House agreed that the matter would be sent to a parliamentary select committee to be dealt with on behalf of retired GT&T employees and former employees of the then state-owned predecessor Guyana Telecommunications Corporation (GTC).

The 11 retirees want the Finance Minister to “kindly state what is the reason preventing the responsible agency from affecting payment of the correct pension that is just and due to pensioners” and “when would the payment to pensioners be effected.”

The former telecoms workers are relying on correspondence by Head of the Privatisation Unit dated February 10, 2000 to then Secretary of the Treasury, Carol Hebert.  According to the petition, he stated that it was the Privatisation Unit’s view that those employees who would fallen in this bracket and would have attained the age of 55 and were still employed by GT&T should have been paid their retirement benefits because it was monies already earned by them, and in fact that should have been paid since 1991 when the company was privatised.

The pensioners in their petition also recalled that Brassington had also stated that the several employees who had accepted the termination offer should be paid their pensions and gratuities as computed as at January 31,1991.

According to the petition, GT&T Consultant Godfrey Statia had told Brassington in a letter dated January 31,2001 that back in October 2000 it was agreed that a meeting that would have been futile to continue discussions or made any decisions on the amount needed to be invested by government into a fund to allow for the unification of plans for the benefit of past GTC employees who were in the employ of GT&T and for whom the government is liable for the payment of pensions based on the terms of the purchase agreement between government and GT&T’s parent company, Atlantic Tele Network.