Municipal staff attached to the Mayor and Town Council in New Amsterdam, Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) on Friday petitioned Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan to be recognised as public servants.
Some of the New Amsterdam municipal workers
The Minister had gone to meet with Councillors at the Regional Democratic Council boardroom in New Amsterdam.
The workers say they have been denied the $50,000 bonus which Government paid public servants in December last year, adding that they only earn $36,400 monthly. They also said the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) deductions are being made from their salaries as though they are receiving $50,000 monthly. The municipality has a staff contingent consisting of 50 monthly workers and 28 weekly workers.
According to the petition, for more than 30 years, the municipal workers have been seen as public servants and whenever there is a wage increase for public servants, they receive a correspondence from the Ministry giving approval for the municipality to pay increased wages and salaries based on the availability of funds.
The workers say they have been addressing the issue through their Union – the Guyana Labour Union (GLU) – since November last year but the Minister had never responded to any of their correspondence. Assistant General Secretary of the GLU Camille Reid said the other two municipalities in the region; Rose Hall Town and Corriverton, have the same concerns.
“We would like the Ministry of Communities to acknowledge that municipal workers are public servants and as soon as they do that, we will know that we will be entitled to the Government minimum wage. Our present minimum wage is $36,400 compared to what the Government is giving to workers now; $50,000.”