The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) has expressed its disappointment in the Government over the “hold-up” of talks in
GPSU President Patrick Yarde along with the Union’s Executive Assistant, Indra Thakurdeen and other members
relation to wage and salary increases.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, GPSU President Patrick Yarde pointed out that while the Union recognised the importance of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Public Service Sector, it saw no need for the impending report to stall other urgent matters such as wage and salary negotiations.
“We say this, since at another level, there is also the vexed issue of the wages, salaries and allowances levels of Public Servants, a matter that has reached proportions of crisis, and one which on purely humanitarian grounds, simply cannot any longer be set aside, even for the briefest period,” he stated.
In fact, Yarde outlined that there was nothing contained in the Terms of References (ToRs), which guide the inquiry that stated negotiations on wages, salaries and allowances should be put on hold.
“Even as we await the outcome of the deliberations of the Commission of Inquiry, we recall nothing in its Terms of Reference that link it to negotiations on wages, salaries and allowances,” the GPSU Head posited.
He went on to say that the GPSU was clear in its collective mind that the sense of emergency associated with the question of wages, salaries and allowances meant that it must be addressed with the immediacy that it deserved.
“In that context, it is the considered opinion of the GPSU that there can now be no question of any further delay in commencing the discourse between ourselves and the Government of Guyana, within the framework of collective bargaining, on the question of meaningful increases in wages, salaries and allowances for public servants.”
Moreover, the Union raised concerns about a recent statement by Finance Minister Winston Jordan who, it claimed, said he was personally not disposed to granting negotiating space to the Union in the process of what was expected to be fair and open negotiations with the Government of Guyana in the shortest possible time.
“We believe that the signal sent by the Minister of Finance is clear and that it represents an attempt to compromise the imminent negotiations. The GPSU cannot be expected to negotiate freely in an environment that is compromised even before the talks begin,” Yarde remarked.
In this regard, the GPSU President called on the David Granger-led Administration to clearly and immediately pronounce on its readiness to commence negotiations with the Union to arrive at meaningful increases in public servants’ wages, salaries and allowances.