UGSS looking to pursue legal action; leaves unions out in the cold

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By Jomo Paul

President of the UGSS, Joshua Griffith. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The University of Guyana Student Society (UGSS) says it is looking at what legal options it can pursue after classes at the University have been on hold for close to a month owing to an industrial dispute between the workers and the administration.

The announcement was made on Tuesday February 17, at a press conference held at the Education Lecture Theatre (ELT) at UG’s Turkeyen Campus.

The student society’s panel at the press conference expressed general disgust at the inability of the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) and University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA).

The UGSS is of the view that the current industrial impasse has gone on for too long and the two sides must return to the bargaining table post haste. UGSS President, Joshua Griffith made it clear that while the Body is in support of the cause that has led to the workers going on strike, but rather the UGSS objects to the continuation of the strikes which have had adverse effects on the student population.

He maintained that from the inception, the UGSS has supported the “cause” of the workers but never once took the side of the protesting UG staff.

UGSS and workers blocked the entrance to the University on February 04. [iNews’ Photo]
Griffith said this despite admitting to being present at a massive march planned by the unions on Monday which saw workers walking from Turkeyen Campus to Georgetown in a bid to have their voices heard.

The UGSS and the unions also blocked the entrance to the UG on February 04. The action, which was orchestrated by the UG Student Society and the UG Workers Union, saw just over three hundred persons lining up at the entrance and its environs preventing vehicles from venturing into campus.

However, the student body has not been seen at any of the other protest actions organized by the workers. Former UGSS President Sherod Duncan, at the culmination of the march on Monday had opined that the “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 member Mario Joseph however explained to iNews that the workers have not been necessarily left out in the cold, but the industrial action has been dragged on too long at the expense of the students hence they are frustrated.

“I do support their action to an extent, but come on almost an entire month has passed and we have no resolution. I don’t think the UGSS or myself are withdrawing support from the lecturers, we just believe that good sense must prevail…we’re not leaving them out in the cold,” said Joseph.