The Labour Department of the Ministry of Social Protection is once again accused of being biased in its handling of industrial relations, this time by the Unions representing workers attached to the University of Guyana (UG).
The University of Guyana Workers’ Union (UGWU) and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) attended a meeting on Tuesday (February 12, 2019) called by the Chief Labour Officer, Mr Charles Ogle in response to a request by UG’s Administration.
But according to the Unions, the Labour Officials did not try to be impartial.
In a joint statement, the Unions said they were informed that “what had been allowed before would not be allowed again (the Unions took that to be a reference to their 2015 strike action) and that they could face disciplinary consequences for their role in leading industrial action.”
They added, “The behaviour manifested in this meeting was a grave disappointment. We expect that officials of the Department of Labour will behave in a manner that is beyond reproach when intervening in disputes. Their conduct should be so unbiased that accusations of acting in favour of a particular political group would never arise.”
The Unions have already staged two days of protest at the University’s Turkeyen Campus, calling for a forensic audit of the institution’s finances since they believe UG is engaging in wasteful spending including employing select-persons and paying them super salaries and sending large delegations to overseas events.
The protest action was prompted after the Unions’ request for salary increases for 2019 was rejected.
Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith has since stated that the resort to protests violates an agreement which the Unions signed with UG.
UG’s Administration has indicated that they wish to initiate the conciliation process.
The Labour Department, which is headed by Minister Keith Scott, was first accused of being biased when it was trying to resolve a months-long dispute between the Guyana Teachers’ Union and the Ministry of Education.