GPSU urges private sector to pay $60,000 minimum wage
- criticises PSC for saying businesses can’t afford the increase
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) is urging the private sector to pay the increased minimum wage of $60,000, noting that the current $35,000 to $44,200 is not a living wage.
“…every private sector employer [should] treat employees with the dignity they deserve by firstly paying a living wage, using the monthly increase of $60, 000 as a benchmark or starting point and not as a hindrance,” the GPSU noted in a statement Tuesday.
Private sector minimum wage has not been increased since 2017 when it was raised from an hourly rate $202 to $255, and thus the monthly salary moved from $35,000 to $44,200 for a 40-hour week. The minimum wages for the public sector is currently $70, 000.
The union criticised the business community following comments made by Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Nicholas Boyer, who had told the Guyana Chronicle on December 1 that companies cannot afford to increase wages due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the business sector.
The GPSU said while it understands the impact of the economic situation, “employers in the private sector should make every effort to recognise the meagre wages paid to private sector employees and endeavour to lift these employees out of the suffering by implementing the increase.”
According to the GPSU, “The increase is well deserved and should have been implemented years ago.”
The GPSU said many private sector workers are “pressured in order to sustain business profitability or line the pockets of some business owners, who operate without conscience.”
The union also accused businesses of paying more to their family members while “poor workers continue to suffer in silence since they have no voice, no representation and are at the whims and fancies of employers, who conversely access a number of relief measures, tax incentives and exemptions and moreover sustained profitability and posh lifestyles.”
Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton floated the $60,000 monthly minimum wage last month but said before it is increased, a Revamped Tripartite Committee will be set up. The committee will include all stakeholders including the unions and the private sector representatives.