The Guyana Public Service Union today described the Government’s announcement of a two-week salary bonus for health care workers as an “irregular, arbitrary, anti-Trade Union approach”.
The union which has been in discussions with the government on the issue of increased salaries and risk allowances for health care workers said the decision by the government to make the award was done without fully engaging the Union on the matter and is in conflict with the Trade Union Recognition Act.
According to the union, the bargaining process was not respected to ensure fairness to Healthcare Workers, who are battling to protect the nation by providing quality healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The GPSU in its statement reminded the President that healthcare workers have been battling COVID-19 for nine months and continuing and not just two weeks. The union said the one-off two weeks of salary as a bonus is disheartening and has ignored the pleas by the workers and their union for an increase in the risk allowance.
The GPSU noted that the workers have faced tremendous challenges that are likely to continue until the threat subsides or is permanently removed. The workers, the union said, are committed and should therefore be properly rewarded.
The union noted that the free transportation that was previously provided for the healthcare workers was taken away, leaving them to face increased transportation costs as they are forced to use public transportation even as the coronavirus cases continue to climb.
The GPSU said a realistic bonus should have been at least one-month” tax-free salary for the health care workers and there should have still been the payment of a risk allowance.
The Guyana Public Service Union said it wants the government to respect the rights of workers and the laws of Guyana when it comes to collective bargaining.
Health Care Workers are being called upon to display unity and be prepared to take whatever action necessary to put an end to “this abuse”.