By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – All City markets, the abattoir and other municipal centers remain closed as strike action by clerical and administrative staff at the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) continues. The strike action began yesterday (December, 15).
The over 250 employees who are members of the Guyana Local Government Officers Union (GLGOU) are protesting the failure of the Council to pay them wage and salary increases and other allowances.
On Thursday last, the Union had given the (M&CC) a 48-hour ultimatum threatening appropriate industrial action.
Two days after the market’s closure, there seems to be no solution in sight, as Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green continues to lay the blame at Town Clerk (ag) Carol Sooba.
Chase-Green maintains that “the ball remains in the Town Clerk (ag) court” adding that, “all she has to do is call a meeting for 2 PM today and the full Council will agree and make the payment to the workers.”
Yesterday, Local Government Minister, Norman Whittaker blamed the Council for the market’s closure, noting that the Council does not have the interest of the vendors/stallholders at heart and spoke of their pre – conditioned demands Councilors had in place in exchange for their support of the increase.
Chase-Green this morning vehemently denied this, while at the same time admitting that at one point Councilors did make pre – conditioned demands which were in their interest.
“He is feeding the public with misinformation; there are no pre – conditions. I can show you the recommendation that has come from the finance committee to the full Council is that the workers be paid…yes there might have been pre – conditions before but then after that has gone through the door and we are saying that the workers could be paid but it must be approved by full Council, there are no preconditions attached to the payment of the worker’s salary.”
Even though vendors/stallholders continue to appeal to all sides to find a resolution to the problem, their voices seem to fall on deaf ears as the fighting continues at City Hall.
When iNews visited the Bourda Market yesterday around 7:00 hours, some vendors were locked in while others could not gain access to the premises which was guarded by big padlocks on the gates.
They were also locked out of City Hall yesterday and wasted no time reeling their frustration and hurling insults at the Town Clerk.