Use “idle” bank accounts’ monies to pay public servants – GPSU
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) believes that the large sums of money that have been identified lying idle in various bank accounts and available for Government use should be utilised to pay public servants a liveable wage.
The Union has also said that it was not unmindful of the immediate implications of implementing a living wage and was prepared to support a multi-year approach to achieve this goal, suggesting a three-year period.
Moreover, the GPSU blasted successive Governments’ resort to employing persons on contract. “We believe that successive Governments recognised the impossibility of attracting quality labour and skills by their continuing use of high-value contract employees,” the Union said in a release on Tuesday.
According to the GPSU, this has led to a situation where the Public Service, at least in relation to wages, salaries and allowances, can reasonably be accused of practising discrimination if not outright ‘apartheid’. The Union has since demanded that this practice be halted, saying “it would be insensitive, uncaring and anti-working class to do otherwise”.
The missive released by the GPSU further outlined, “We believe that, to use the words of Prof Clive Thomas, ‘the democratic dividend must immediately begin to reflect in a just wage for those who toil’.
“We further believe that once the compensation pay for those at the bottom of the scale is taken care of consequential increases and adjustments will satisfy the need for those at the top,” the GPSU added.
The Union, in its proposal to Government, has also called for a flat increase of $7500 per month, which should be added to the salary at December 31, 2015 of each person employed in the Public Service, as well as to the amount payable at the minimum and maximum of each band.
The GPSU suggested too that next year a 25 per cent increase be given across the board and in 2018, a 20 per cent increase be paid across the board.
To this end, the GPSU asserted its commitment to an objective organisational restructuring in the Public Service, accompanied by a job evaluation exercise of relevant positions; the need to provide for rewarding additional and special responsibilities; and the reduction of overlap, more consistency and logic in the number and spread among bands and their de-bunching where necessary.
“In this regard, it is the GPSU’s position that the findings and recommendations of all previous and current reports of committees, arbitration tribunals and the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Service of Guyana should form an adequate basis for the determination and completion of this exercise within the three-year period of the above proposal,” the release stated.
According to the GPSU, no fulltime worker whether in the Public or Private Sector should be forced by their employer to have to go hungry, without reasonable shelter, basic clothing and adequate leisure.
“One of the duties of the employer is to ensure that the worker’s self- esteem and dignity are always preserved and protected…Wages which dooms the worker to poverty deprives the employer of a motivated worker and correspondingly the quality and service which the public expects and deserves. Poverty robs the worker and his/her family of their self-esteem, right to dignity and a decent life,” the Union highlighted.
The GPSU said too that its argument in the struggle for a living wage for decades was that it helped to protect the workers at the lowest level of the socio-economic structure.
According to the GPSU, “Our economy has for too long been constructed/regulated/structured on a paradigm of low wage…This explains why Guyanese continue to migrate in large numbers and why the paradox of job vacancies and high unemployment persist simultaneously.”