Some GPL employees protest delay in salary/wage increases

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While the managerial hierarchy of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) has reportedly received their due salary increases, company subordinates are still awaiting the finalisation of an agreement on their increases.

The delay in reaching an agreement between the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) and GPL sparked a midday protest outside the utility company’s Main street, Georgetown Office on Tuesday.

“Pay us 12% like the Directors” and “5% can’t work” were the chants of employees during the brief demonstration.

Some employees of GPL during the midday protest (Photo: News Room/April 27, 2021)

GPL’s management is represented by the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), while over 700 employees outside of the management bracket but inclusive of supervisors are represented by NAACIE.

Although a tripped alarm forced everyone from the building at midday, managerial staff did not join the protest and quickly retreated to the building.

NAACIE’s General Secretary, Dawchan Nagasar, explained that in July 2020, the union met with GPL to discuss the three-year package for salary increase.

He said, at the time, GPL was offering 5% across the board for three years but that proposal was rejected by the union and the two sides entered into negotiations.

A change in government in 2020 resulted in the negotiations being paused at the request of GPL in November 2020.  The next time the two sides will meet would be in March 2021. Nagasar said this was only after the union had written to GPL several times asking for a meeting.

At that meeting, there was a proposed collective labour agreement with some 68 clauses.

NAACIE’s General Secretary, Dawchan Nagasar (Photo: News Room/April 27, 2021)

To date, the two sides have managed to mutually agree on 66 of those clauses with the two outstanding clauses relating to the across-the-board increases and appraisal increase.

At a March 22, 2021 meeting, NAACIE asked GPL to pay the workers 5% for 2020, 7% for 2021 and 9% for 2022, according to Nagasar.

He said since then the union has not heard from GPL and the workers are “out of patience.”

The NAACIE General Secretary said he is hoping to get the Prime Minister, Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips, who has oversight for GPL, involved to have the matter resolved.

He said this is only the start of daily protests to occur at different GPL locations until the matter is resolved. Efforts made by the News Room to contact officials at GPL proved futile.

Some employees of GPL during the midday protest (Photo: News Room/April 27, 2021)
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