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Public servants to get ‘back-pay’ salary increases

Last Updated on Monday, 2 August 2021, 13:21 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali  on Monday  announced that public servants would before year-end get retroactive salary increases, even as threw a cloud of uncertainty over the possibility of negotiations with the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU).

“Let me assure you that the public servants will receive salary increases before the end of the year and it will be retroactive,” he said.

Dr. Ali shrugged off questions about when his government will give into several requests by the Guyana Public Service Union for wage and salary negotiations.

The President said he preferred to engage directly with public servants and teachers, even as he cautioned them against being played politically. “I will engage with you so that you understand where our country is heading, you’ll understand the opportunities of the future and of course, you will be integrated in this new Guyana filled with opportunities and improvement in your family and personal welfare,” he said.

Dr. Ali urged government workers not to see salary increases in isolation of other benefits that government has begun providing. “My vision and the vision of the government is not only about salaries,” he said. adding that Guyanese have been receiving cash-grants, tax-waivers and home-ownership. “We want to empower public servants so that their children, too, can benefit from the scholarship programme…It is holistic improvement to lives and livelihoods. It is not a narrow window of only salaries,” he said.

He stopped short of criticising the General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers Union, Coretta Mc Donald who is a parliamentarian for the opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC). “We have to be careful and my appeal to public servants and teachers is a simple appeal – trust the government, By the end of these five years you will all be better off,” he said.

The Guyana Public Service Union has accused government of violating an agreement it has with government as well as applicable International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.