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UG unions “hopeful” of more money after talks with President Granger; to submit proposals

Last Updated on Friday, 11 December 2015, 22:19 by GxMedia

President David Granger this morning met with (second, right) Dr. Mellissa Ifill, President of the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association, and a team comprising (from left) Bruce Haynes, President of the University of Guyana Workers Union; Dr. Pat Francis, immediate past president of the UGSSA; and Thomas Singh, executive member of the UGWU, at the Ministry of the Presidency to follow up on discussions on matters concerning the university

Representatives of academic and non-academic staff at the University of Guyana Friday emerged from talks with President David Granger optimistic that government would provide more funds to the cash-strapped institution in next year’s budget.

University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) President, Dr. Melissa Ifill told Demerara Waves Online News  that a proposal,to be dispatched to the Guyanese leader very shortly, would not differ overall from a proposal that had been submitted to the then People’s Progressive Party Civic-led administration and UG’s administration. “We are hopeful but, as I said, we are to submit some proposals and we will see how it goes from there but we are hopeful,” she said.

Ifill confirmed that the proposals would include the need for increased in wages and salaries but she did not reveal an amount that would be requested. At the same time, she reiterated that at the core of many of UG’s problems is the quality of its human resource capacity.

“Successive studies have indicated that problems at the university are related to staffing and quality of teaching and quality of research. I think we have been able to persaud the President- if he hadn’t been persuaded already – that question of addressing the staffing at the university is key to transforming the university,” the UGSSA President added.

Earlier this year, at the height of a bitter strike that had ground UG’s operations to a halt for several weeks, the UGSSA and the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) had demanded a 75 percent increase in salaries over a three-year period and a 200 percent increased in allowances as well as duty free concessions for eligible staffers.

Ifill said Granger, with whom discussions had been held while he was Opposition Leader, “didn’t disappoint” and so the UGSSA  and the UGWU would be documenting its ideas and sending them to him.

Compared to the “muted” responses by then Presidents Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar, the UGSSA President the talks with Granger were “a refreshing change.”

Dr. Ifill said although the unions representing workers would send their proposals to the President, negotiations with UG’s administration would continue.

Due to low salaries and other poor working conditions, most UG lecturers opt to provide private consultancy services or seek employment at the University of the West Indies (UWI).