Challenged by losses, debts: GPL says no money for salary increase 

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Up against new pressure from union bodies to offer salary increase to its more than 750 employees for 2021, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. said on Wednesday such a payout cannot be afforded nor sustained.

During a press conference at GPL’s Duke Street, Georgetown location, Chief Executive Officer Bharat Dindyal said, “we can’t afford anything at all.”

His comments come days after employees gave notice of daily strike action in a bid to apply pressure on management and with union leaders seeking engagements on the way forward.

Dindyal said the two sides are exploring a three-year collective labour agreement but that is still being discussed.

“We are aware coming to the end of the year and we don’t have money to pay an increase,” the CEO said while noting that there were ongoing discussions with the government in good faith to see if funds can come from anywhere to make such a payment.

Chief Executive Officer of GPL, Bharat Dindyal (Photo: News Room/December 08, 2021)

 

He said the unions are expecting GPL to match the seven per cent salary increase the government has given to public servants.

“But that, it is not sustainable,” he said while also dismissing the idea of a one-off bonus.

He said GPL was dealing with millions in losses due largely to electricity theft and with its current state of deficit, averaging at $2.6 billion, and debts, it certainly did not have the funds.

Dindyal said GPL is currently satisfying its shortfall by borrowing but said the company was not receiving any subsidies from the government.

It was only in May 2021 that GPL paid a five per cent 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 increase amounted to some $200 million. According to that agreement, the five per cent is regarded as a full and final settlement of all claims for increases in remuneration for the year 2020.

Then, the two sides had agreed to urgently consider the proposals for a revised Collective Labour Agreement for the period 2021 – 2023.

At a March 22, 2021 meeting, the union had asked GPL to pay the workers seven per cent for 2021 and nine per cent for 2022.

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