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UG workers threaten closure if staff, progs are cut

UGSSA Vice Chairman Melissa Ifill, UGWU President Bruce Haynes and UGSSA Chairman Patsy Francis

The University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) on Friday threatened to shut down the tertiary institution if its administration goes ahead with plans to cease a number of programmes 

“We intend to close the the university down,” said UGSSA Chairman, Dr. Patsy Francis. She said she did not support cuts but reforms to enhance programmes that are fully subscribed to and keep others that the society needs. “If we don’t have the intelligence (information) then we might as well close down,” he said. They said the Berbice Campus and the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education have been identified for programme and staff cuts.

Asked how confident she was about staff responding positively to a strike-call, Francis said this was all about “bread and butter.”

“If they want to tart cutting staff and start cutting programmes they will feel the full brunt of workers at the University of Guyana and elsewhere,” she said.

Francis urged UG Vice Chancellor Professor Jacob Opadeyi to lobby the politicians to restore monies that have not been approved by the opposition-controlled National Assembly. She also recommended that the Finance Ministry conduct an audit of the Student Loan Agency to see whether it is making a profit.

They said Opadeyi has told them during a meeting that UG would be closing some programmes if the National Assembly does not approve the monies for the institution. The UGSSA fears that if the programmes are closed, it could possibly jeopardise the US$10.1 million Science and Technology project being funded by the World Bank because of the absence of the relevant human resources.

Vice Chairman of the UGSSA, Melissa Ifill cautioned that if salary negotiations do not begin almost immediately, the staff would take certain actions.