750 GPL employees to get 5% salary increase for 2020
New 3-year labour agreement still being discussed
The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) will soon take steps to pay some 750 employees of the company a 5% salary increase for 2020 in keeping with an agreement reached with the workers’ representative body – the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE).
The agreement was signed on Tuesday at the Ministry of Labour between the two parties after almost a year of negotiations on the matter.
The increase to be paid will amount to some $200 million.
It comes weeks after employees of GPL staged a protest against the delay in the payment of their salary increases.
According to the agreement, the 5% is regarded as a full and final settlement of all claims for increases in remuneration for the year 2020.
Additionally, the two sides have agreed to urgently consider the proposals for a revised Collective Labour Agreement for the period 2021 – 2023.
Initially, GPL was offering 5% across the board for three years but that proposal was rejected by the union with workers asking GPL to pay more.
Speaking to the News Room shortly after the signing of the agreement, NAACIE’s General Secretary, Dawchan Nagasar, explained that the decision was reached after GPL’s financial position was considered by the Union.
He said the negotiations also saw the two sides agreeing on a range of additional fringe benefits – meals, travelling and out of town allowances – which will be payable from 2021.
In welcoming the amendment to the 2001 labour agreement, Nagasar said he hopes the negotiations to take place on the three-year agreement will conclude expeditiously.
At a March 22, 2021 meeting, the union had asked GPL to pay the workers 7% for 2021 and 9% for 2022.
Meanwhile, GPL’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO), Renford Homer said GPL, like the union, was happy with the achievement.
He acknowledged that the prolonged negotiations had resulted in frustration among the staffers who are represented by NAACIE.
Renford did not confirm the total size of the payout but said “while we want to honour the expectations of our colleagues… we had to balance that with the company’s financial position.”
He said GPL had its own challenges in 2020 having been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.