By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Just after two weeks back on the job, trouble may be brewing at the University of Guyana (UG) once more after the unions left a negotiating meeting feeling somewhat cheated.
A statement from the President of the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) Dr Melissa Ifill on Tuesday evening stated that the unions were invited to their first round of negotiations; but this turned out to be nothing more than a monologue.
After five weeks of industrial action by UGSSA and Workers Union (UGWU), the strike action was called off on February 28. This was facilitated by several agreements in Terms of Resumption which included a return to the negotiating table.
“To say the meeting was farcical and insulting would be a massive understatement. The University’s team, led by the DVC Academics in the absence of the VC essentially responded to ALL the items contained in our memo of demands that 1. The University was unable to afford the demand at this time, 2. The practice/benefit remains as is or 3. The policy is being reviewed. This was no negotiation. This was almost a monologue,” Ifill said in a statement.
The UGSSA President also underscored that no counter proposal was made by the University on any single item in the Terms of Resumption.
According to the statement, “this farce was just another illustration,” as it was noted that some of the stipulations of the Terms of Resumption were already violated by the University’s Vice Chancellor Jacob Opadeyi.
“We were paid late versus immediately as the TOR stipulated and clumsy attempts were made to make some staff work back time without coming to an agreement with the Unions,” retorted Dr Ifill.
The Unions have promised to “respond” accordingly since the terms of resumptions have been violated.
“We shall respond. Since the University has violated its obligations under the terms of resumption, as the Unions have indicated to the Ministry of Labour officials, staff members are likewise under no obligation to honour the terms of resumption…the struggle is not over so stay strong colleagues. Our overpaid senior administrators, who will likely leave us before too long, are no match for us,” the statement read.