Despite a Cabinet decision which allows for sweeper cleaners to enjoy an eight-hour workday, the Guyana Public Service Union is reporting that there are efforts to amend that decision at the regional level.
GPSU’s Vice President Dawn Gardener told reporters on Friday morning that the union has received information that regional officers have dispatched letters to cleaners, signaling moves to further reduce the daily hours of work.
While reminding that just under a year ago cleaners worked way beyond eight hours a day for low wages, Gardener said the new interim agreement between the union and government allows for cleaners to enjoy eight hours daily at a rate of $2495.
She said the move by regional officers not only reduces the work hours but also reduces the pay these cleaners are entitled to.
“Even though this was a Cabinet decision there are efforts of some senior officials within the regions, who think they have the authority to amend a Cabinet decision, by trying to reduce the working hours of these cleaners,” she said.
Gardener said the reports of this move to amend the decision by the Cabinet came directly out of Region 10, but she could not say who handed down the instructions.
The union intends to approach Government on this vexing issue but Gardener reminded that it is disappointing that engagements have been continuous on the matter since 2003 with the minimal progress made.
She also recalled protest action in August 2017 to bring attention to the plight of cleaners and the subsequent meeting between the union and the Ministry of Education.
The union had asked for a number of measures but in a circular from the government but in an interim agreement the cleaners pay and work hours were regularised.
In bringing attention to this new development, the Union said it will continue its representation for sweeper cleaners to be granted sick leave and be appointed to the permanent pensionable establishment.
Gardener told reporters that the union continues to also insist on cleaners being granted vacation leave and allowance, all in keeping with the public service rules.
“They must be paid the government minimum wage… and when they attain the age of retirement they must be paid all benefits for the period of employment.”
Gardener said efforts will continue in the fight for these basic benefits and bring the matter to an agreeable standard.