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UG executives’ salary increase hinges on Council appointment; ready to pay other staff next week

Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith

University of Guyana (UG) executive staff members will have to await the appointment of a Council before they are paid salary increases, but academic and non-academic staff can receive their six to eight percent salary hike by October 9.

UG Registrar, Dr. Nigel Gravesande told Demerara Waves Online News that the executive staff members would not be paid until the Council is constituted. The Ministry of Education is yet to name a Council since the life of the last decision-making body ended in July.

Gravesande said the eight percent  to non-academic staff and six percent to academic staff retroactive to January 1, 2017 would amount to GYD$181 million. He could not say whether there would be any money left over after the pay-out.

In a statement issued Saturday, UG sought to dispel claims that the Workers Union (UGWU) and Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) were never informed that the executive staff would not be paid along with other workers.

“It is to be noted, as well, that exclusion of the University’s executive members from the negotiation package and consequential benefits was communicated clearly and unambiguously to the unions on September 20, 2017 in a letter which stated that, “the administration is committed to consummating an agreement that will not include members of the executive, but will include elements of performance …,” the institution said.

The Registrar could not say whether the performance yardstick would take the form of a merit-increment system to determine how much workers would actually receive.

The UG statement referred to a September 27, 2017 communication by Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith to the university community that states  “I am ready to sign the agreement and begin the payments. If the agreement is signed within the next 10 days, the payments can be made with the October 2017 salaries.”

The administration said its “final offer” of six and eight percent were communicated to the union presidents on August 30, 2017  “in the context of what is affordable in keeping with the mandate by the University Council.”

The Administration said it has honored all requests by the unions for financial and other information during the period of the negotiation, which began on July 12.

Increases in salaries and pension, Griffith said, were not the only financial obligations the University has to bear, saying that other benefits such as allowances for travelling, entertainment, uniforms and academic materials; study leave (salary and housing for three months); sabbatical leave (salary and housing for 12 months); leave passage; and duty allowance for Deans, Heads and Co-coordinators must be added to the list.

The University says it continues to pay an average of 4.5 percent merit award to all eligible members of the staff annually.”

“The Vice-Chancellor takes this opportunity to thank the hundreds of dedicated academic and non-academic staff members for their exemplary service, and looks forward to the collective efforts to enhance the University’s teaching and learning, research, and service to the University community and the wider society,” UG said.

UGWU President, Bruce Haynes has said that workers might be willing accept the pay increase offer if they were given sufficient information such as where the money would be drawn from to pay the executive team members.