GPSU softens stance on ‘deadlocked’ wages talks

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first_img… now calls for non-legally binding mediationThe Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) has called the wages talks with Government “deadlocked”, rejecting the ‘final offer’ of one to 10 per cent; however, the Union has since softened its stance and has now invited Government to conciliation.Conciliation is considered a type of mediation which unlike arbitration – an option also open to the Union – does not have any legally binding force.GPSU President Patrick YardeThe public servants bargaining body on Friday held a meeting with its Executive Council at which a unanimous decision was taken to “communicate to the Chief Labour, Occupational Safety and Health Officer of the Social Protection Ministry, Department of Labour, the Union’s wish to enter into conciliation in the matter of what is now a dispute between the Union and the employer in the matter of wages and salaries increases for public servants for 2016.”The Union in its statement announcing its decision restated its position that Government’s expressed ‘final offer’ is unreasonable and unacceptable and to state further that it considers the matter deadlocked since the September 14, 2016, between teams representing the Government of Guyana negotiators and the GPSU.According to the statement released by GPSU, it was related that its Executive Council has expressed its “serious concern over the seeming insensitivity and absence of a sense of urgency on the part of the employer in dealing with the various other outstanding associated with public servants’ emoluments including de-bunching, increments and allowances.”The Union has also adopted a position that “the Government of Guyana appears to be reneging on its commitment to have separate negotiations for wages, salaries and allowance for semi-autonomous agencies.”Only recently, the GPSU in its bid to have Government return to the bargaining table in order to negotiate a better deal warned that Government be guided by history, inclusive of the 1999 strike which lasted for 57 days and which that led to arbitration over the deadlocked salary talks.GPSU at the time accused government of horse-trading over its publicly stated position that it will go ahead and make an arbitrary award in face of the Union’s refusal of the differentiated 10 per cent to one per cent salary increases for public servants.GPSU President Patrick Yarde at the time sought to remind the parties that formed the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government, that it had campaigned on a promise to pay public servants decent wages/salaries.The GPSU’s announcement that it has called for conciliation instead of arbitration had come on the heels of a pronouncement by Business Minister Dominic Gaskin who suggested that public servants in Guyana were in fact being paid more than their counterparts in many developing countries.Asked whether he believed that Government’s final offer to public servants was sufficient, Minister Gaskin responded saying, “sufficient is a difficult word.”He sought to explain saying, “Profits for business are never sufficient, you know, that is the nature of business.” According to Gaskin, “Businesses always need bigger and bigger profits and I assume that human nature is no different, we want bigger and bigger salaries every year if we can’t get it.”As such, Minister Gaskin posited that no wage increase would ever be sufficient, “it has to do more with what can be afforded.”The Minister was at this point asked if the Government’s final offer represented a ‘livable wage’ to which he responded “it depends on how we want to live.”According to the Minster, “In many countries, compared to a lot of countries, Guyanese earn considerably more than in a lot of developing countries, that doesn’t mean that it’s sufficient.”last_img read more