Faced with what it believes is “more of the same”, a “betrayed” Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) on Friday said it continues to encounter political reluctance to address the “peppercorn salaries” being paid to public servants.
GPSU President, Patrick Yarde said the Union now feels betrayed and is no longer deluded into thinking that a change in political administration would have brought a shift in the attitude to enhance wellbeing to nation public servants.
An emotional Yarde blasted the government as “uncaring and cruel” as he likened the government’s posture to be a deliberate attempt to “keep the persons who are slaving in the public sector in poverty.”
He told media operatives that the government now stands guilty of taking advantage of the responsible stance towards the development of the country which the union has taken loyally and seriously.
Mr. Yarde said entrenched disregard for the process of collective bargaining remains a reality and believes the Union is faced with the same attitude to public servants’ wages and salary as when Bharrat Jagdeo served as Finance Minister.
The Union President believes his union is faced with the same mentality because Winston Jordan who now serves as Finance Minister held the position of Budget Advisor and Chief Negotiator for PPP regime at the time.
The Union has placed government on notice that it will unfold strategies to address this situation unless its posture changes with alacrity.
Yarde criticized the government, saying that the commitment to address the issue of remuneration and allowances is still to be realised.
He said the commitment which the union received from the government was dishonored although it was assured repeatedly that the posture which pre-existed will not persist.
Yarde noted there is even blatant refusal currently to conduct negotiations on the agreed agenda. He believes what passes for negotiations currently is characterized by the same unyielding and unprincipled posture. “We are faced with the same bad faith stance,” he lamented. He said the government continues to deny public servants the benefits they deserve and insisted that the government has money to do better than it is offering to do.
“Look around and you will see how money is found to do other things. Why more money cannot be found to pay the people who are slaving in the public service?”
Currently, the government is proposing increases between 2% and 8% with plans also to raise the minimum wage to $60,000. The Union has submitted a proposal for negotiation, but the government has already stated that’s its offer is final.
Convinced that the government will proceed to impose another increase, the GPSU said it is not impatient, but it is prepared to stand against it.