Scores of students at the University of Guyana Turkeyen Campus began widespread protest action on Tuesday morning by blocking the entrance to the campus.
The students have been pressing the University’s administration to improve the conditions at the campus. The protest comes at a time when University of Guyana staff members are on strike pressing for increased wages and salaries and better working conditions.
The students stood in solidarity with staff and formed a human barrier, preventing traffic from entering the campus and called on President Donald Ramotar to intervene and for their education to be respected.
This move comes a day after Vice Chancellor Professor Jacob Opadeyi corresponded that UG could not afford to pay increases to the staff following a week of industrial action in the form of a ‘sit in’.
The threat is to lock down the campus until a negotiated agreement between staff and the administration is reached.
Students have backed the decision taken by the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) and last week collectively rejected a two point proposal for the Unions’ consideration to end the industrial action by the VC.
The academic staff has condemned the attempt to change the conditions of service of academic staff through the imposition of a new Workload Policy and insist that it be withdrawn from the University of Guyana’s Council until meaningful negotiations and consultations have taken place.
Union members are demanding a 60% across-the-board increase in salaries for all categories of UA & UB staff.
The Unions say the strike continues until further notice while pointing out that they are encouraged by the extensive support given by staff and urge that all continue to stand firm until their demands are addressed satisfactorily.
On Monday, during a meeting the Deputy VC at Turkeyen, students said its was the failure of UG’s administration that has resulted in the current state of affairs concerns and made demands of their own.
Those demands, if meet, will result in improved learning environment; ranging from better security to more sanitary environment.
The industrial action continues indefinitely as classes remain suspended.
Filed: 3rd February, 2015