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GPSU, GTUC differ on salary increase

GPSU President Patrick Yarde.

The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) and the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) differ on the wage and salary package that government has doled out.

The GPSU also blamed the David Granger administration for breaching an understanding that sweeper-cleaners would have received a higher pay. “We consider the response of $315 per hour disheartening and call on the Government to implement what was previously agreed to. The Union in registering its disappointment with what was stated in the Budget and reiterated its position that this matter be addressed consistent with its representation,” said the union.

The GTUC sees the salary offer as a start while the GPSU accuses government of continuing in the footsteps of its predecessor by flouting the collective bargaining process. The union, which has already proposed a multi-year agreement, hopes that government would soon begin negotiations to further increase pay packets.

“Another sore issue is what appears to be another imposition of wages and salaries, this action is also compounded by the effective date of July 1st, 2015 and not the legitimate date of January 1st, 2015.

The GPSU rejects this approach which is in conflict with the undertaken given by the Government to respect the collective bargaining process and will view this announcement as an interim measure pending negotiations as was promised, and is the legitimate way in dealing with these matters in these enlightening days,” said the union that had repeatedly threatened industrial action for improved wages under the previous administration.

Government was also chided for the manner in which the minimum salary was increased to GUY$50,000, saying that it would further disrupt salary scales because of five and eight percent wage increases. “The manner of treating with the $50,000 minimum pay will compound this already untidy situation and disproportionately apply increases to salaries of Public Servants adding to their  prevailing frustration and displeasure,” he said.

But the GTUC, whose affiliate relationship with the GPSU has almost frozen over the years, welcomed the wage and salary hike announced Monday August 10, 2015 by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan in his 2015 Budget Speech. “GTUC’s proposal to the Minister of Finance for a $55, 000 minimum wage, though $50, 000 has been budgeted, expects forward movement as the government commence collective bargaining with the public sectors unions,” said GTUC General Secretary, Lincoln Lewis.

He welcomed the return of State grants to the GTUC  and the Critchlow Labour College that had been withheld by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration over issues of accountability. The GTUC has said that audits proved that there was a clean slate.

Lewis said the GTUC looks forward to to the restoration of the Women Advisory Council’s grant in 2016.

GTUC, he says, takes note of the absence of attention being given to the Cooperative sector in the Budget.