By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) is in support of a move by the Guyana Government to increase the salaries of Government Ministers, Vice Presidents, Parliamentarians and other key personnel in the National Assembly.
GTUC General Secretary Lincoln Lewis on Friday stated that while the Union is concerned about the manner in which the increase were administered, it believes that wages should be increased for everyone – including politicians.
On September 23, Finance Minister Winston Jordan issued the order to increase the salaries by as much as 50% for Government Officials.
“We believe in a wage led economy and we can’t believe in a wage led economy and condemn the increase. We are not against the increase in wages or salaries. What we are concerned about in the process in which it has been applied to deliver it,” said Lewis.
On further questioning by iNews, Lewis stated that the government has effectively hoodwinked the nation on the matter. This is after Government Officials would have denied that an increase was in the pipelines two months ago.
“You have said two months ago that it is not on the cards. Now it on the cars you have a responsibility to come back and tell people that it is on the cards. You have a right to come back and tell citizens,” he stated.
The veteran trade unionist explained that the process was noncompliant. He believes that the Collective Bargaining Process between Government and trade unions should have been started before the government moved to increase the salaries.
Asked about the argument presented by Government that higher salaries for Ministers will effectively discourage corruption among Public Officials, Lewis had this to say.
“They cannot be singular it has to go with other things. There is no nonsense…there must be systems put in place to ensure that persons who are in government declare their assets…and the parliamentarians too…I don’t buy the argument.”
“If you want to become rich then go in the private sector, the public service is not to get rice…Obama is not making the amount of money that the owner of Chrysler makes…no justification has been given for the increase…it has not been properly packaged and sold,” Lewis objected.