– says the Minister infusing unhealthy prejudice into negotiations
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) on Thursday took Minister of Finance Winston Jordan to task over comments that there is not enough money in the treasury to pay public servants “exaggerated increases”. Minister Jordan during a news conference Wednesday cautioned public servants not to get their hopes up high for hefty wage increases, since there is not enough money in the treasury to pay Public Sector workers “exaggerated” increases. “From the time I came in, I’ve been advising and cautioning as it relates to wage
increases and meeting exaggerated demands for wage increases, even in good times, paying exaggerated salaries cause, as you all know, serious short- and long-term impacts,” he stated, adding that the salary increase, to be announced before the end of the year, will be “sustainable”. However, the GPSU in a statement said the Minister, whether on his own volition or acting on some other directive, is seeking to infuse an element of unhealthy prejudice into the negotiations with the union ahead of the start of these negotiations.
The union said it finds “particularly disconcerting”, Jordan’s statements that there is no room for negotiations, therefore the government will offer a salary increase that is “sustainable”.
“Those, in our view, are not the words of an individual who is amenable to negotiations, but one who comes to the table with preconditions that taint the negotiating environment long before the discourse even begins,” the union stated.
The union said Jordan’s statement is a stark contradiction to public statements by President David Granger who underscored the importance of the public service in Guyana’s development.
It noted that the minister’s comments bears an uncanny resemblance of the “dismissive posture” of the previous administration when it comes to the public service.
The GPSU is calling on the government to state publicly if Jordan’s views represent that of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Administration.
It said if this is indeed the government’s view then it will create an unwholesome environment ahead of the much-anticipated negotiations on a meaningful increase in wages and salaries for public servants.
“It is the view of the GPSU that public servants are entitled to urgent assurances that the ensuing developments are not about to take us down a path of bad faith as the time for negotiating salary increases approaches,” it stated.
The union said it has also taken note of the “suggestion” by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) about “moderating the growth of wages.”
It questioned whether the minister’s statement was an indication of fulfilling the IMF’s expectation.