By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former President of the University of Guyana Student Society (UGSS), Sherod Duncan has chastised the current President and members of the UGSS for the stance taken on the current industrial action by University of Guyana Workers.
According to Duncan, the UGSS should have shown more solidarity with the protesting workers by being present on the frontline with the workers. According to Duncan, instead the student body has chosen to stand back only saying that they are in solidarity with the unions.
UGSS has formed a special committee to see that the crisis at UG is resolved post haste with lecturers returning to lecture halls. According to a statement from the body on Sunday, the next step for UGSS would be to “apply pressure to both parties in order to achieve a return to the negotiating table and class normalcy. This will be done by pleading the case for the students in the media. Further, the students will plead their case to international organizations for intervention.”
But Duncan, at the culmination of a protest action today, said that “UGSS is talking trash…the UGSS should be here in body, not only in word, if as the UGSS president says it is a just cause then support justice.”
UGSS has been noticeably absent from the picket lines over the past week. This is despite the body advocating for an expeditious return to normalcy at UG. In this regard, it has served as a negotiator in a few tripartite meetings with the university and the workers unions.
Duncan, a current student at the university, said that even if the student body could not rally the support of the students, members of the UGSS should have been present at the protests.
“So if the UGSS really and truly support this action here, they should be out here; where is the UGSS Leadership? Where are the 22 persons we elected to represent us? I have not seen anybody from the special committee” said a passionate Duncan.
Meanwhile, Head of the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) Dr Melissa Ifill said that while the UGSS has indicated their intentions, it is important “for the students to recognize that they are not the only ones suffering.”
She pointed out that the workers stand to lose out on their salaries with the continuation of the industrial action.
“We want the students to know that they are not the only ones suffering; we’re also suffering. In part we are suffering for them because we are insisting that they be given the quality and type of education they deserve,” said Dr Ifill.
She noted too that there is no “foreseeable” end to the current industrial action at the university pointing out that protest action is scheduled for continuation at the main entrance to the university on Tuesday morning.
“We remain off of the job until we get a credible offer,” said the UGSSA President.