More than 200 workers under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP) in Linden have been issued termination letters, to facilitate the rehiring of about 50 less workers under a “superior contract”.
According to a report in today’s Guyana Times, approximately 300 persons from both Wismar and Mackenzie, Linden were initially on the programme. However, under the superior contract which is expected to take shape sometime next month, only 250 would be hired. This has created some amount of disagreement by some workers, who are at odds with the decision.
Speaking on the issue, Linden Town Clerk Jenella Bowen explained that the programme which is conducted through the municipality of the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) has undergone some restructuring, based on agreement with the Ministry of Communities.
“There were several discussions between the Ministry of Communities and the CIIP project. PS (Permanent Secretary) is aware and all the other players from the ministry, as it relates to this project. A decision was made where we would have 250 persons working instead of 300 persons…we would have started with Mackenzie, having termination contracts for the persons on Mackenzie. So what happens is that the entire CIIP programme will be restructured based on the Council’s agreement. Everyone will be terminated and then people will be rehired. There were 300 persons on, but now we have to bring that figure down to 250”, the Town Clerk indicated.
She added that the decision was based on an agreement with the Ministry of Communities, which was embraced by the Council.
Bowen further stated that some workers had agreed to uplift their termination letters and that all were terminated to facilitate the rehiring process in both “fairness and justice”. The workers, she noted, were given a one month notice of their termination.
Bowen said workers under the programme will continue working 4 hours per day, for 16 days in this month for the usual payment of $12,500. However, come September 5, when the re-established work process commences, the work time will be 8 hours per day, for eight days and the payment increased to $25,000. NIS would also be deducted, according to Bowen.
“So instead of working 16 days it is 8 days, 8 hours a day…I think that the system can work. I think that it’s for the betterment of the community. I will embrace it. Many of the persons from what I know are single parents. Many of them mothers, and for that I am grateful…and I know the Council will also embrace the project”, the town clerk said.
Meanwhile, Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice) Chairman Renis Morian has called for the letters of termination to be rescinded, since he noted it has created a lot of uncertainty and uneasiness among the workers who depend on the project for a living. He said the decision was not made in “fairness” and proper consultation should have been made to prepare the workers for the changes to come.
“You have people in Region 10 who are unemployed, who are doing the CIIP work. So you have a contract that for whatever reason, you’re pulling this contract because it is alleged that you have framed a superior contract. You’re pulling this contract now and there’s a long uncertainty period. I’m saying, pull back the letters. When you’re ready with your new contracts, call the people…I’m saying to the Minister of Communities and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communities that those letters should be withdrawn…you don’t just pull a contract and leave a man hanging in the air and you know a man was earning…it has to be discussed with them and they agree…”, Morian stated.
The regional chairman said he hopes that good sense will prevail regarding the issue. He recently stated that he was given all assurance by the minister that this will be done.