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Wage talks with govt “nothing of substance” but GPSU still optimistic about hefty pay hike

GPSU President, Patrick Yarde (file photo)

The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) says it is not entirely satisfied with wage and salary talks with government in its quest for a 35 percent t pay hike for this year and 40 percent for 2016, Union President Patrick Yarde said Tuesday.

“The discussions we have had have not been anything of substance but what is clear from the discussions is that we are on the same page in terms of recognizing that was done was insufficient,” he  told Demerara Waves Online News.

He said the GPSU was currently assessing how much of the money that was approved for wages and salaries has been paid out, partly due to reduced employment.

At the same time, he remained optimistic and confident that government would deliver an adequate pay increase to workers for 2015 and 2016 “because we do not believe that we are dealing with insensitive people.” “What is, however, not clear is precisely how we will conclude this matter but I am optimistic it will have a movement to some satisfaction,” he said. The GPSU boss was mindful of inflation and economic growth in expecting an increase in wages and salaries.

A GPSU delegation met with Finance Minister, Winston Jordan as late as November 23, 2015 to discuss a pay increase for 2016. Asked whether he considered discussions with Jordan and President David Granger a revival of the collective bargaining process, he said, “I would not say that it is ideal but the fact that you have met and discussed it, it is a commencement of the process but you have not really gotten into the meat, the nitty-gritty of the process but it is significant improvement on what we had been experiencing (under the PPP). What we were experiencing was defeat and denial,” he said.

While Yarde praised the coalition-led government for demonstrating willingness to end years of no collective bargaining under the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-led administration, he was not excited by the process so far.

The GPSU has already expressed displeasure with the award of a five percent pay increase and extra GUY$5,000 pay out to government employees in the 2015 National Budget that was presented in August, 2015 due to the prorogation and dissolution of Parliament and the holding of general elections in May 11, 2015. Yarde reiterated that that his union regarded that pay-out as an “interim measure.”

In 2008, the GPSU had proposed that the minimum wage should be GYD$124,000 gross monthly.

The proposal for a 35 percent across-the-board pay increase for 2015 was re-submitted to the new administration prior to the 2015 budget.

Director of Public Information at the Prime Minister’s Office, Imran Khan has said on his Facebook Profile that the 2016 National Budget would be presented in January.