[www.inewsguyana.com] – Staffers at the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) have gone on strike, commencing this morning; forcing the closure of all city markets, the abattoir and other municipal centers.
When iNews visited the Bourda Market around 7:00 hours, some vendors were locked in while others could not gain access to the premises which was guarded by big padlocks on the gates. The situation has riled up vendors who wasted no time in venting their frustration.
The over 250 employees who are members of the Guyana Local Government Officers Union (GLGOU) are protesting the failure of the Council to pay them wage and salary increases and other allowances. On Thursday last, the Union had given the M&CC a 48-hour ultimatum threatening “appropriate industrial action.”
Town Clerk Carol Sooba told this news agency that the increases were recommended, several weeks ago, by the Personnel and Training, and the Finance Committees. “But the Mayor and Councilors have held the employees at ransom because they want gratuity and they want increase allowances and duties retroactive to 2012, so they made a decision that if they are not paid that the employees can’t get their increase,” Sooba said.
She declined to comment when asked if she supports the strike but noted that “I can’t stop the Union from protesting because everything was done possible within my power and even the Union President had discussions with the Mayor… it’s a legitimate protest.”
Sooba said no one can be disciplined for locking the gates.
In a letter sent to the Council last week, the Union highlighted the Council’s failure to address the matter. The President said he met with the Mayor, on December 9, and was informed that he was willing to revisit the issue and have the matter of approval for wages and salaries for members of GLGOU.
“However, having submitted our request in writing, the GLGOU was informed that this matter will now be placed on the December 22, 2014 statutory agenda. The GLGOU is not confident that this item will be discussed– as was the issue with two previous meetings where the same promises were made by the councilors but to no avail.”