Some GWI employees to be terminated as overstaffing leads to high level of expenditure
The Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) on Thursday confirmed moves to send home more than 100 employees as it battles high levels of expenditure created by burdensome overstaffing at the utility company.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shaik Baksh, said the company’s employment numbers had risen from just about 600 in 2015 to 1,300 by August 2020, prompting the much-needed rationalisation of employees, which started eight months ago.
He said employment cost had also moved from $96 million in 2015 to $240 million by 2020 – representing a staggering 140 per cent increase.
“This was not sustainable at GWI and, therefore, the staffing establishment rationalisation was important,” Baksh told reporters during a media briefing on Thursday at GWI’s Headquarters on Vlissengen Road, Georgetown.
In addition to cost, Baksh said the cutting back on employment numbers was also considered because of its link to productivity ratio, which also increased between 2015 and 2020.
“Therefore, we had to proceed on this and we reached a state where a number of employees will have to be terminated in accordance with law,” the CEO said.
Providing further clarity on the move, Executive Director of Human Resources, Elvis Jordan, said the issue of overstaffing had also led to the overlapping of functions, which further led to inefficiency and unnecessary spending.
He said based on internal studies, GWI management believes that its staffing could comfortably be reduced to 994 which means that over 300 staffers would have to be sent home.
As of April 30, 2021, the utility company had managed to reduce staffing to 1,156, due largely to natural attrition with persons resigning and retiring.
According to Human Resources Director, the company engaged the union and other stakeholders before terminating the employees. Jordan explained that meetings were also held with the staff, who were informed of management’s position and the way forward.
Asked about persons with over 10 years of service, Jordan said there are a few persons on the termination list who have over a decade of service to GWI.
He said in any event, long-serving staff members would be asked to go on early retirement.