GPSU warns of possible mass industrial unrest against 5% wage increase

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By Kurt Campbell

President of the GPSU, Patrick Yarde. [iNews' Photo]
President of the GPSU, Patrick Yarde. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – President of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Patrick Yarde says the body is prepared to stand up against the proposed five percent wage increase by the Government but made it clear that the GPSU will not hastily take part in industrial action.

The GPSU head told reporters that several members at the leadership level of the body have already signaled their willingness to take action but noted that it is an option that is being considered cautiously so as not to affect innocent persons.

“If it must be done to bring about change, then it will be done” he said.

Yarde at a press conference on Thursday (December 5) called for all public servants to reject what he says is an abuse of power and office by the current administration.

He said the GPSU has a plan but refused to go into details; he did say however, that the plan will be rolled out in an effective, peaceful and unlawful manner when the time arises.

He noted that a council meeting will be held after which an ultimatum will be issued to the Government.

“Anyone who is thankful for this increase lacks ambition,” he said.

Yarde described as embarrassing reports which indicate the government’s explanation for only giving the five percent increase among which were budget cuts and the fact that the treasury could not afford a larger increase.

Yarde questioned the falsehood of such statements, noting that Government has been operating as it’s above it the law and called for it to subject itself to the law.

“For some time now in Guyana there has been an abuse of authority and a blatant disregard for the rights and welfare of citizens, the constitution, laws and legally binding agreements” Yarde said, adding that “this is an insult that workers have to face. This statement that the budget cuts are responsible for the award of 5% is misleading and blatantly dishonest. The question to be answered initially is: what is the planned use of the remaining three billion dollars?”

He explained that the Parliament had approved $4,403,509 to address revision of wages and salaries. According to him this amount even though viewed inadequate by the GPSU could have paid in excess of 15% across the board to the Public Service.

“Instead the Government has withheld three billion dollars and seeks to impose arbitrarily a five percent increase.”

According to the GPSU Head the proposed increase cannot improve the life of someone already living in poverty. He is of the belief that the Private Sector should have showed more interest in the matter; noting that to date the Private Sector has been silent.

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