GPSU unhappy with recent statements regarding salary increases for public servants
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) in response to recent comments by President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Mr. Vishnu Doerga regarding public servants’ wages and salaries said it will not allow its conscientious representation to be beaten down by spurious challenges.
The GPSU in a press release today said it has noted that Mr. Doerga has joined Finance Minister Winston Jordan and Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin in making public statements “to the effect that Public Servants should set aside their efforts, through their Union to secure wages and salaries increases above the insubstantial offer made by the Government of Guyana.”
According to the Union, Mr. Doerga is not the first private sector official to make utterances that reflect an absence of value for the role of Public Servants, “despite the fact that the Business Support Organization (BSO) that he heads depends on the services of various public sector organizations in their quest to maximize their profits, which is their primary interest.”
GPSU expressed pity for what is described as Mr. Doerga’s inability to recognize the nexus between the higher level of efficiency in the Public Service which his organization continually advocates, on the one hand, and a more incentivized Public Service, on the other.
It questioned if Mr. Doerga and other entrepreneurs with a similar mindset “would wish that Public Servants be cast permanently in the mould of hewers of wood and drawers of water?”
The Union went further to stated that in all of his argument, as with those of Ministers Jordan and Gaskin no consideration is given to the issue of a living wage, not a level of earnings that support the kind of lavish life-style enjoyed by many members of the business class, but earnings that afford a decent living, which, properly defined, can be taken to mean enough to afford themselves and their families a reasonable and comfortable level of existence.
“Is Mr. Doerga aware that there are Public Servants who, by virtue of being prisoners of meager wages and salaries, continued to be victims of a mundane and miserable existence?”
GPSU said if there is some validity in the “affordability” argument to which both Mr.Doerga and the mentioned Ministers cling, “the question that they must answer (if they dare) has to do with whether the concept of affordability does not apply in equal measure to the vulnerability of an under-motivated Public Service that continues to keep going by sheer force of will.”
Taking a swipe at the GCCI President the Union noted that “Mr. Doerga must also relate affordability to the more than $40 billion dollars in duty free concessions and remission of taxes which the government gives to the private sector each year.”
This, it stated, incidentally, is more than what is required to pay government employees in and out of uniform i.e. army, police, teachers, public servants wages and salaries etc. It was pointed out that there is, as well, the issue of private sector operatives who do not pay their correct taxes as was mentioned by the Finance Minister, Mr. Jordan in a press statement on September 25, 2016.
The GPSU is recommending to “Mr. Doerga and those of his private colleagues who share his view a course of action that supports a better paid, better incentivized Public Service. This is in the interest of the public sector, the private sector and the country as a whole.”
The following tax concessions and remissions granted to businesses were highlighted by the GPSU:
2014 2015 2016
$21,824,958,000 $20,236,999,000 $14,746,180,000
“The GPSU has requested from the Government of Guyana but is yet to receive the information for the complete years regarding the total monetary value of duty free concessions and tax remissions for the aforementioned period and the companies benefiting there from. Could this be the reason for this private sector outburst?”