Dispute over UG salary increases heads to Council

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The dispute over salary increases imposed by the University of Guyana (UG) will be discussed at a Council meeting, according to a commitment by Pro-Chancellor, Joseph Singh.

Unions representing senior staff and other workers at the University want the increases imposed by the University administration rescinded and negotiations held to determine a reasonable increase.

The University of Guyana Finance and General Purposes Committee on November 14 approved the request of Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith for salary increases at the rate of 3% for all eligible UA staff and 4% for all eligible UB staff, retroactive to January 1, 2018.

At a press conference held at the University Friday, the Unions said that following written correspondence with Major General Singh, it was agreed that a Council meeting would be held and dates are being determined.

The University recently announced salary increases, but the Union’s rejected this.

“It is completely contrary to the principles of labour relations to impose an increase where trade unions exist and negotiations are possible.

“The percentages named are also insulting to staff,” said Jewel Thomas, President of the University Senior Staff Association.

She said there were many issues the Unions wanted to discuss.

These include salaries for 2018, travelling allowances, book allowances, medical scheme, and gratuity for persons not on the pension scheme, and pensions for staff.

The University Unions said they attempted to negotiate this year’s salary increases with the administration since January 12, 2018, but that agenda for the negotiations could not be agreed because the administration refused to let the Unions’ agenda items be discussed first, and to delay other matters until a promised transformation had occurred at the University.

The Unions’ number one agenda item was wages and salaries for 2018.

“It is disingenuous for the Vice-Chancellor to claim that he has been forced to ask for the unilateral increase because he could not get us to agree to discuss these matters.

“The administration has refused to negotiate wages and salaries with the Unions, going so far as to fail to attend a conciliation meeting requested by the Unions.

“This meeting was scheduled by the Department of Labour for 25th October 2018, and the Unions showed up, but the administration never did,” the Unions previously stated.

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