UG unions plan massive protest

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UG workers protesting recently. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – After three weeks of intense industrial action and no favourable response from the administration of the University of Guyana (UG), workers now plan to take to the streets of Georgetown in a march to have their demands met.

On Saturday, the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) and University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) said that plans are in motion for the UG workers to take to the streets of Georgetown in a march over the stalled negotiations.

According to the release, the unions have “received police permission and will begin our protest activities next week with a march from UG to downtown Georgetown. The march is intended to gain solidarity and to bring about public awareness of the plight of lecturers and ancillary staff (as well as students) at the University.”

The march will commence at the main entrance to UG and will culminate at Manget Place, Brickdam.

“Our message to the University’s administration should be clear by now – we will not resume our normal duties unless a decent offer is made. We also express our willingness to entertain an interim proposal and a firm timetable to complete all negotiations to resume normal operations. We are however not prepared to return to work with only an empty promise as happened in 2012,” the release noted.

It was noted too that of the 609 Turkeyen courses and the 128 Berbice campus courses to be taught, only about 80 plus are listed by the University as being taught which equates to less than 12%.

“I contacted several of the lecturers of some of the taught courses and was advised that some are practicum/practical aspects of the courses being done and no actual classroom instruction is being done. Others indicated that students aren’t turning up to the classes in any event. We urge all lecturers who are teaching to reconsider and join (rejoin) us as I know you agree that the overall conditions at UG are atrocious and must be remedied,” said Dr Melissa Ifill, UGSSA President in the release.

The unions said that they will continue to pursue all avenues to resolve this crisis affecting UG noting that union leaders met twice with the Deputy Vice Chancellors in absence of the VC.

“Both meetings however bore no fruit as the University’s position hadn’t changed – we are still being asked return before negotiations can commence with an outer limit of June 30 proposed for the conclusion of negotiations. We could only reject that proposal,” the release noted.