Gov’t should settle on real wages before performance based increases – Unions

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 May 2016, 15:17 by

GTUC General Secretary Lincoln Lewis

GTUC General Secretary Lincoln Lewis

Days after President David Granger declared that lazy public servants will receive lazy salaries, signaling the implementation of a performance based pay system for public servants; workers unions are having their say on the matter.

“Many people expect there is going to be some bonanza. I hope they will discover that the bonanza will come from their own efforts. The bonanza will come when they work hard and do better than the next person. If they want to be lazy, they will get a lazy person’s remuneration. If they work hard they will be rewarded for their hard work. This is what people in every area of endeavour must learn, that actual output is related to input,” President Granger had stated.

Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) General Secretary Lincoln Lewis said that while he was not opposed to the idea, there needs to be some settlement on what the ‘real’ wages for workers should be.

Real wages are wages adjusted for inflation, or, equivalently, wages in terms of the amount of goods and services that can be bought. This term is used in contrast to nominal wages or unadjusted wages.

Speaking to Demerara Waves on Thursday Lewis declared that employment stipulates that wages be declared according to the economic situation of the employing entity.

“Employment is that wages and salaries are determined based on the economic circumstances of the entity and in the case of the public service real wage based on the economy and the question of inflation…Those two elements are addressed in an across the board negotiation in determining wages,” said the GTUC General Secretary.

He said that real wages are usually settled in collective bargaining hence that process should be used before resorting to individual performance based increases.

“They have to first determine what real age is and then we can start talking about performance increases,” he stated.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) Kenneth Joseph expressed a similar view on the subject.

“This is what the trade unions would accept if the base is looked at first…There must be a national base that caters for inflation and what not,” said Joseph.

He was adamant that when that is done then the unions and Government can look at increases based on performance.

“We can’t start looking at performance now when the base is where it is,” he stated.

Reports indicate that the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Service did not recommend an increase from the current minimum wage.