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University of Guyana pay negotiations resume Wednesday

Even as a sit-in strike at the University of Guyana continues into its 10th day, unions and the institution’s administration are Wednesday expected to resume negotiations, President of the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) Melissa Ifill said.

At the same time staff and students are expected to picket outside Office of the President during midday while President Donald Ramotar chairs a Cabinet meeting.

Speaking from the picket line during Tuesday’s shutdown of the Turkeyen Campus by staff and students, Ifill vowed that workers would not accept meager wage and salary increases. The demand so far is for a 60 percent pay hike plus increases in fringe benefits.  “We can say quite definitively that we are not prepared to accept any minimal increase. That is untenable,” she said.

For the administration’s part, its team is expected to peg increases to performance-based criteria because a recent Human Resource study has found that many lecturers are working few hours, conducting no research and delivering grades late.

Students are pressing authorities for better accommodation, improved sanitary facilities, free wireless Internet, a modern library, new classroom technologies, timely delivery of grades and better security on campus.

Vice Chancellor Professor Jacob Opadeyi wants lecturers with a minimum of Master’s Degree and a 50 percent reduction in the GUY$150 million that are being paid annually to the 177 part time lecturers.

The University of Guyana administration intends to ask government to fund the additional wage and salary increases if the negotiations turn out to be mutually satisfactory. Already Chartered Accountant and part time Law Lecturer, Christopher Ram has cautioned against expecting a high salary payout in the absence of a national budget because the law provides for only one-twelfth of the previous year’s expenditure until a new budget is passed.