GGMC workers strike over pay dispute

GGMC workers strike over pay dispute

Workers attached to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission downed the tools of their trade early on Monday morning and launched strike action for increased wages and salaries.

The workers are being represented by the Guyana Public Service Union. The Union had given Management of the GGMC up to last Friday to reach agreement on a revised increase for the workers.

The Union believes the GGMC management may be deliberately dragging its feet on the issue. Negotiations for 2013 increases are still to be finalised to pave the way for the 2014 negotiations. The GPSU has been pressing the Commission to give the workers a 15% interim increase while the negotiations continue.  That demand was turned down by the GGMC and the union decided to step up its protest action with a strike.

Scores of GGMC workers armed themselves with umbrellas to shelter from the early morning showers and launched a loud protest outside the Brickdam Headquarters of the Commission.

Senior Industrial Officer at the GPSU, Dennis English told News Source that the management of the GGMC does not appear to have any immediate plans to seriously consider the demands of the workers and their union. IMG_3886

He said every proposal put forward by the union is being brushed aside. Negotiations have been ongoing for over a year.

According to English, “the action today came as a result of the failure of the management of the GGMC to conclude in an amicable manner, the negotiations for wages and salaries for workers of the GGMC for 2013”.

He said negotiations for the 2013 salary increases began back in 2013 but there has been little success in convincing the Management to meet the needs of the workers.

English noted that the union was pushing for the interim increase during the negotiation period to ensure that workers did not lose out from the negotiating process.

Workers attached to interior locations could be called out if the negotiations do not bear fruit.

But even as workers step up their calls for better wages, the GGMC management has given approval for several benefits and increases dating back to 2013.

According to a notice dispatched to staff members from their representative on the Board, the GGMC Board of Directors has given approval for an increase in the annual Christmas voucher from $30,000 to $50,000 per month, increases in the annual Bursary for the children of staff members from $25,000 to $75,000 per year as well as increases in casual workers wages and the implementation of risk allowance for carpenters, lab and electrical staff.

Additionally workers are being offered an increase in the life insurance for staff from $1 Million to $4million and the field allowance will be increased from $2500 per day to $3750 per day.

The Chairman of the GGMC has indicated that he has submitted a plan to increase salaries to the Minister of Natural Resources.

“The annual increases for all staff will move from $75 million to $150 Million for 2014”, the notice said.

Filed: 17th November 2014

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