Less than two months before the presentation of Budget 2018, the Government and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) is still to agree on proposed salary increases for public servants for 2017.
According to the Ministry of the Presidency, a team from the Government led by Head of the Department of Public Service and Permanent Secretary, Mr. Reginald Brotherson and Head of Political Affairs, Ministry of the Presidency, Mr. Frederick McWilfred on Monday engaged resident of the GPSU, Mr. Patrick Yarde and other executive officers of the union to advance the discussions
The discussions commenced on September 26, 2017, in what the Ministry termed a “frank and open” manner.
While noting that an offer was put forward to the Union which it rejected, the offer was not disclosed.
“The Government has given an offer for 2017, again, it’s based on last year’s formula and, in fact, the Government can only give an offer that the economy can afford at this point in time. The Union has rejected it. They, of course, had indicated that they had given a proposal sometime last year that should be re-looked. They promise to resubmit those proposals and we look forward for those proposals, but in the interim, the Government of Guyana has given an offer to the Union for them to look at and for them to reconsider,” Brotherson was quoted as saying.
The Ministry said the team has also agreed to start looking at allowances in a general way, particularly those allowances that have not been changed for almost three decades. “So we are trying to move the process forward but everything has got to be done in the context of what the economy can afford at this point in time. The issue of allowances is still on the table to be looked at in a holistic manner,” Brotherson said.
The team is expected to meet within another week.
According to the statement, the Government is looking to have the discussions concluded in time for Budget 2018.
“The 2018 budget is almost upon us. We implore upon the Union that any action they take, or they want to address, they must bear that in mind. We know that the Minister of Finance is in the final stage of concluding his budget and any action taken has got to be done in the context of that timeframe,” the PS was quoted as saying.
Budget 2018 will be presented on November 27.
Following several meetings in 2016, the Government gave the union a final offer of 10 percent increase in salaries for public servants working earning below $99, 000, and had made an offer of 1-6% for other categories of workers. The union did not agree to the offer, however, the government held fast to its claim that it was all it could afford and further went ahead with the payout of the increases.