As of Monday, Government approved salary increases across a number of pay ranges for public servants; inclusive of retroactive payments from January 2018, one week ahead of the reading of next year’s budget.
This is according to a circular dated November 19, 2018, that was sent out by the Finance Ministry to the heads of all budget agencies and seen by <<<<INews>>>>>. According to the document, persons earning less than $100,000 a month will receive a seven per cent increase.
Those earning between $100,000 and $299,999 will get an increase of 6.5 per cent, while those in the $300,000 to $499,999 range will get a five per cent increase. Those with a paycheque of between $500,000 and $699,999 a month will have their salaries increased by three per cent.
Meanwhile, those in the $700,000 to $799,999 range will be eligible for an increase of two per cent, while those earning $800,000 to $999,999 will get one per cent in increases and those with a $1 million salary and above will get a 0.5 per cent increase.
The circular makes it clear that the increases do not apply for teachers, University of Guyana employees, Government Ministers and Members of Parliament.
It does, however, apply to the Disciplined Services, including the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force.
Besides the Disciplined Services, it applies to “all traditional public servants, defined to mean those employed in Ministries, departments not under ministerial control, regional administrators and public service related agencies, commission secretariats and those who are engaged on contract positions reflected on the inventory of authorised positions of the traditional public services and persons on contract outside on the inventoried positions.”
The Ministry indicated that teachers received a separate circular regarding their increases. Teachers have for some time been agitating for increases since the end of their previous multi-year agreement. This agitation included strike action early in September of this year.
In October, more than one month after a nationwide teachers’ strike was called off, Government finally agreed to increase the salaries of teachers by 12 per cent for 2016 and eight per cent for 2018.
When it comes to UG staff, the University’s administration had announced a few days ago that the Finance and General Purposes Committee had approved salary increases for staff, at a rate ranging from three to four per cent.
It has been reported that the increases were sought by UG’s Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith. And like the Finance Ministry curricular, the increases would have been retroactive to January 1, 2018.
In a joint statement afterwards, however, the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association and the University’s Workers Union poured cold water on this proposed increase. According to the unions, the increases were “a violation of good labour relations practises.”
While Griffith has been quoted saying that he acted because of stalled negotiations with the unions; the unions claimed in their statement that the administration has not been acting in good faith during the negotiations.
Ministers and MPs are not being included in the salary increases because in 2015, months after the Government entered office, they received an increase of their own. Cabinet Ministers had their salaries increased by 50 per cent, while junior Ministers and other parliamentarians received smaller increases. Government has said that this was a one off event. (Jarryl Bryan)