Gov’t imposed pay raise discriminatory – FITUG

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By Devina Samaroo

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) on Tuesday lambasted the administration’s pay hike structure, noting that low-earning workers are hardly benefiting from a salary increase.

General Secretary of the umbrella union organization, Dawchan Nagasar told reporters during a press conference that the announced final offer for salary increases does not facilitate an equal distribution of wealth.

“We cannot fail to express our concern over the quantum of the pay raise approved. For those at the bottom end, their salaries will rise by $4,445 from $55,555 to $60,000 per month having benefitted from an 8 percent rise; however, those at the top who receive $800,000 per month, for instance, will see their salary going up by $40,000 arising from their 0.5 percent pay hike,” he explained.

Nagasar said though FITUG accepts that all workers deserve higher wages/salaries, it is those at the lower end who are in greater need.

“It is the low-earning workers that find difficulties to put meals on the table, to send their children to school, to pay their bills, to afford medical care and medication, to have adequate shelter and the basic comforts of life, and to meet life’s basic necessities,” the General Secretary explained.

Further, he expressed concern over the administration’s apparent abandonment of the collective bargaining process.

“The Federation was also very upset when it learnt that the Government imposed pay rises for workers in the public sector for the third consecutive year. The APNU/AFC Government in its manifesto committed itself to ensuring that the Collective Bargaining process was employed in arriving at wage/salary increases and other improvements in the public sector. This was a sentiment that was expressed on several occasions by officials in the Administration. It is, therefore, disconcerting that the Government has, once again, employed such a high-handed approach and in that process undermined the credibility of its commitments,” Nagasar explained.

He noted that this approach runs contrary to the Trade Union Recognition Act, the Constitution of Guyana, and International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon recently announced that public servants earning between $55,555 and $99,999 would receive an increase of 8%, while a 6% increase has been approved for persons earning $100,000 to $299,999.

Public servants who earn between $300,000 and $499,999 will receive a 5% increase while those earning $500,000 to $699,999 will receive a 4% increase.

Those making $700,000 to $799,999 are set to receive a 2% increase and for those earning $800,000 to $1M, a 0.5% increase has been proposed.

The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), the body representing the majority of the workers to be affected by this decision has not yet commented on government’s final offer.

When contacted by the News Room, the Union said they will host a press conference shortly.

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