“We will not do anything” – Labour Minister on UG industrial dispute

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By Jomo Paul

Minister of Labour, Dr Nanda Gopaul,

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Labour Minister Dr Nanda Kishore Gopaul says that at this point in time there is nothing that the Ministry of Labour can do to ensure talks between the University of Guyana (UG) administration and the two unions – University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA).

The unions had explained that it will be seeking conciliatory services from the Ministry in an effort to resolve the dispute between the two parties. The UG workers have been taking industrial action over the past few weeks in an effort to get the administration to agree to a 60% across the board salary increase.

But, when contacted on Sunday, February 08 Dr Gopaul told iNews that as far as industrial discourse goes, proper procedure has not been followed hence there is no official breakdown in talks.

“The strike was called in the midst of discussions with the Ministry’s administration and the steps haven’t been exhausted. So the talks have no ended at that level. So it hasn’t as a consequence not come to the Ministry,” said Dr Gopaul.

When asked about the unions plan to request conciliatory services from the Ministry, the Minister said “we can’t conciliate when there wasn’t a breakdown, there wasn’t a breakdown in talks as far as due process goes.”

He said that at this present stage the Ministry of Labour has no role to play in the situation and even if the UG administration was invited to conciliate it would be within their right to refuse to meet with the Ministry and the unions.

“When the industrial relations procedures are not followed it makes collective bargaining difficult…We will not do anything, we will not intervene” he told iNews.

Intensified protest action is scheduled to commence at UG today, Monday February 09 with a “full blown” sit in that is expected to last for three days.

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