Sweeper/cleaners to finally earn more, get NIS

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After years of demanding better, sweeper/cleaners in public schools across the country can now look forward to better working conditions soon.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon announced on Thursday that Cabinet has approved a recommendation from the Ministry of Social Protection for the regularization of the employment of this category of workers.

For years, these workers, who are mostly single mothers, were being paid below the minimum wage and some were not entitled to benefits from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

A large group, mobilized by the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), led a series of protests in an effort to once again grab the government’s attention to this prevailing issue.

News Room was informed by some of the workers that they are paid roughly for six hours per day at $312 per hour, even when they work longer periods – which is the case every day as they are tasked with maintaining a sanitary condition in the schools.

Additionally, NIS contributions are not made by the employers for the employees; therefore they will not get a pension when they retire nor will they be entitled to any other benefits.

GPSU First Vice President, Mortimer Livan had explained that since 2003 they have been requesting that sweepers/cleaners be regularized and that their salaries must be in keeping with the minimum wage of the public service.

According to Harmon, Cabinet agreed that the Ministry of Education’s proposal to the Ministry of Finance in its budget presentation for 2018 will be used as the base upon which the other agencies such as the Ministry of the Presidency will examine carefully issues in relation to the sweeper/cleaners.

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