The Guyana Trades Union Congress has written to President Irfaan Ali requesting that the $10 Billion which was approved by the National Assembly this year for increases in pay to public servants be granted to public servants.
The GTUC has rejected the imposition of the 7% increase by the Government and has noted that although $ 10 Billion was budgeted and passed for the 2021 increases, the recent 7% increase only amounts to $4.2 Billion, leaving the remaining 5.8 Billion unaccounted.
“The 7% proposal, amounts to about $4.2 Billion (gross) cost to the treasury. This amount is taxed, so the treasury claws back some of this money; in the circumstances, and based upon consultations within our unions, we now urgently request a meeting with you to discuss the way forward,” Mr. Lewis told the President.
In the letter, GTUC General Secretary Lincoln Lewis informed the President that the union held discussions with the main unions for public servants, the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) on the recently announced 7% increase by the government—and both of those unions have rejected the pay hike.
Mr. Lewis told the President that it is not unreasonable to demand that the monies approved by the National Assembly, be paid for the purpose so directed, which would see an increase slightly above 14%.
Lewis explained that Guyana is now an oil economy and the traditional economy is no longer an argument and the low wage structure must now be a thing of the past.
When concerns were expressed back in February about increases for public servants, the Vice President and a number of Government Ministers pointed out that the increases were covered in the budget as part of a $10 Billion allocation under the revision of wages and salaries.
The GTUC said it expects to hear from the President by the close of business on Friday.
Since the announcement of the 7% increase by Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh last week, the Government has been scrambling to justify and defend the 7% increase after two years.
The unions representing the workers have said the 7% increase is an insult since there were no increases granted in 2020 so that 7% really represents a 3.5% increase for each of the two years.