Now into their fifth week of industrial action the unions of the University of Guyana (UG) say staffers will not return to work without a written commitment from the university’s administration.
Recent talks have seen the administration ask staffers to return to work, after which they (the administration) promise to recommence negotiations toward a mutually acceptable agreement.
Efforts to contact UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyi proved futile.
The unions say the administration has made an informal proposal, which will reportedly be worked out in detail during negotiations to follow any resumption of work. This proposal is for a 10% increase and the latest offer for 2015 upon the immediate resumption of work.
This offer was put to staffers Monday by executive members of the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA), but was vehemently rejected on account of a trust deficiency between the unions and the university’s administration.
UGSSA President Melissa Ifill told Demerara Waves Online News on Tuesday that nothing short of a written, signed agreement, indicating the administration’s intention to be legally bound by their proposal, will be accepted. Until this is done academic and non-academic staff will remain on strike. Ifill also made it clear they would only be accepting the 10% increase as an interim arrangement, the remaining details to be worked out when negotiations continued.
The positions of the unions and the administration and the unions are thus diametrically opposed, as the strike action continues.
Meanwhile, the students have taken to barricading the university’s northern entrance in a push for the commencement of all classes. The action commenced on Friday, continued today, and the student body President, Joshua Griffith, says it will continue until all classes resume. This action was taken after classes at the university started taking place in a disjointed fashion.