New Diamond/Grove Primary School cleaners not paid for 3 months

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…while Zeeburg Secondary cleaners not paid promised increases

The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) head, Patrick Yarde said that he will be investigating  cases of non-payments of salaries and salary increases to sweeper/cleaners as was promised by the Government earlier this year.

It is being reported that sweeper/cleaners attached to the New Diamond Grove Primary School, East Bank Demerara (EBD) have not received their salaries since August 2018.

The report which was made by the school’s head teacher, Wendy Chichester revealed that the workers have been reporting for duty at the school from 08:00h to 16:00h five days per week.

According to her, the “dedicated workers” who go “beyond their call of duty” have been told that no payments were available for them.

In a post via Facebook, Chichester indicated that the workers are currently living off funds gathered for them by the school through mini fundraising activities.

“Now these cleaners are human beings, mothers, grandmothers playing the role of mothers, women who have heavy loads on their backs. As a school, we have tried by lending them whatever we can afford and even doing two mini fundraising activities to assist these unfortunate souls. As an individual, I have given them what little I can afford and even parents have tried in their own little ways .Now what are these cleaners expected to do for survival?” Chichester questioned.

Further, the head teacher questioned the reason for the late payments condemning the blatant disregard for the human rights of the workers.

“Every morning at school I listen to their cries in sincere empathy for these women who have been performing duties that most, if not all of us, won’t want to do for a single day. Now whatever is the problem with their salaries, I do not know, for all we have been told is, It’s not ready as yet. Maybe you can call back next week… That’s all we heard from September to now… Does anyone who is earning six figure salaries have any clue as to what these cleaners are suffering? I think this is a blatant disregard for their human rights and a violation of workers’ rights. By now those in authority should have had an alternative or emergency plan to address this issue for our cleaners are extremely valuable to us and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity” Chichester chastised.

This online news also received reports which indicated that sweepers/cleaners attached to the Zeeburg Secondary School, West Coast Demerara (WCD) who signed contracts earlier this year after the Education Ministry had granted them a salary increase, have not been paid said increases.

INews was informed that the cleaners following the signing of those contracts are now required to work from 7:30h to 16:00h daily as opposed to previously working four (4) hours per day.

They have all commenced working said hours however, to date are still awaiting the increase promised.

The workers are decrying the actions of the Government and are calling for answers.

When contacted, Yarde said that GPSU continues to be upset with the treatment of sweeper/cleaners across Guyana.

He stated that an officer would be immediately sent out to the schools to investigate the reports.

“This is a vulnerable group, the require sensitivity, why is it taking the Government so long to have this matter resolved? We will not give up the fight for these workers” Yarde said.

The GPSU President assured that a report would be given on Friday regarding the issue.

Attempts to make contact with the Labour Department and Education Ministry for a comment on the issue proved futile. (Kizzy Coleman)

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