The Guyana Public Service Union has written to President Irfaan Ali requesting the payment of a one-off “hardship” cash grant to public servants, which will be outside of their expected salary increases.
In the letter to the President, the GPSU is requesting that health care workers in the public sector be paid a $300,000 cash grant while all other public servants are paid a $250,000 cash grant.
Vice President of the GPSU Dawn Gardner said the payments should be made without prejudice to the negotiations for salary increases for 2020 and 2021 which are still to begin.
The GPSU noted that the healthcare workers and other public servants have been working throughout the pandemic and have been made to face many of the hardships including the rising cost of living in the country.
The union noted that the workers have stuck to doing their jobs during the pandemic with poor sustenance and little or no recognition from their employer, the Government of Guyana.
“These workers have dedicated themselves and have performed exceptionally during the two years of the pandemic without any increase in wages, salaries and allowances”, the union contended.
According to the union, the workers have been stretching their earnings to meet family commitments and are deserving of the cash grant to ease the hardship that they are facing.
The union reminded the President that before he became a Government Minister and President, he worked in the public service, and therefore he should have a good idea of the situation that public servants face.
The GPSU also wants the President to use his office to enable the commencement of negotiations for wages, salaries, and allowances for the years 2020 and 2021.
The Government recently announced that sugar workers who lost their jobs under the former government when some sugar estates were closed will be paid a one-off $250,000 cash grant by the end of January.
The cash grant is in addition to the severance packages that the workers have already been paid and many of them have since been rehired to continue working in the sugar industry. Other sugar workers are now calling for the cash grant to be paid to them too.
Just after the budget presentation in February this year, the Government committed to increasing the salaries for public servants, stating that money is already catered for in the budget for such increases. Eight months later, the public servants are still to see the increases.