By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and three unions have successfully managed to increase the minimum wage being paid at the local conglomerate by 20%.
The Unions – Guyana Labour Union (GLU), Guyana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) and the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU) – on Tuesday, November 17 ratified the multi-year collective bargaining agreement.
Under the agreement, DDL has increased the salaries being given to the lowest band of employees by 20% taking it to a new minimum of $60,000 for that band.
The Collective Labour Agreement would see gradual increases being given to workers over the five year period that it is enforceable – 2015-2019. Additional fringe benefits were also negotiated under the agreement.
Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle hailed the agreement between the Parties as proof that collective bargaining has not died.
“Collective bargaining is well and alive in Guyana – this is proof of collective bargaining and its four parties” he declared adding “we are glad that you can reach an agreement without third party intervention.”
DDL Representative, Manita Bird-Singh said that the company, as always, is playing a leading role in industrial relations.
“DDL has been signing multi-year agreement for quite a few years now. We are pleased that we have reached this point – we have raised the new minimum wage to $60,000,” said the company rep.
Setting the minimum at $60,000 compared to the National Minimum at $40,000 and the tax threshold at $50,000 is not any major achievement for the workers. What is very much evident is that both management and Unions have conspire to conceal the minuscule increases gained over the 5 year multi agreement.
This is a company that declared major profits every year and there wages bill is below 20% of revenue. Very little is given to the workers compared to Guysuco that has not declared a profit for over a decade where you have two of these said Unions representing workers and are demanding major increase from a dying company.
It is saying much about nothing, 20% on the minimum is moving from $50,000 to $60,000, these workers will now be paying PAYE.