The Guyana Public Service Union, (GPSU) today appealed to its members to be vigilant and to stand in solidarity with the union, as it intends to press the government for a meaningful increase in salaries for public servants.
At a press conference today, union officials said past and present governments have been imposing salary increases without consulting with the workers’ union, and those arbitrary increases have not been sufficient for public servants.
The GPSU said the disregard for the union and the gravity of the situation now require a more aggressive approach to get the government to act.
“The arbitrary and illegal imposition of unimpactful increases in salaries have only compounded dissatisfaction since key categories of workers such as nursing tutors were excluded. Additionally, less qualified nurses are earning in excess of their more trained and experienced seniors because of the ad hoc and ill-advised manner by which salary increases were addressed. Nurses and other health workers allowances have been callously ignored for years,’ the GPSU said in its statement.
GPSU officials said the payment of a livable salary for public servants is the base for its negotiations.
While the union has expressed concerns with public servants across the board, it said that the situation in the health sector has particularly been deteriorating.
“Instead of honouring the lawful principles of collective bargaining, the Government of Guyana has chosen a path of union busting and unilateral implementation of unenlightened policies, which have compounded their own problems and will ultimately result in the death and injury of many citizens, who have no choice but to utilize the poorly managed public health care facilities. Rather than resolve industrial relation issues in collaboration with the GPSU, which will ultimately result in retention of locally trained staff, the GOG has decided to import Cuban Nurses in the short term,” the Union stated.
The union said workers and their rights continue to be disrespected by the government and it will no longer stand idly by and watch the rights of workers being trampled upon.
The Government since taking office has been promising to meet with the union. However, the union has complained that many of its requests for meetings and for negotiations to begin on salary and other issues, have been shut down, with no response from the Irfaan Ali administration.