Ludicrous and unconscionable is how trade unions representing workers in the public sector and the teaching service have described the Government’s imposition of an across-the-board 8% salary increase. They believe that workers deserve more and can certainly be afforded the same as Guyana is reaping massive revenues from its evolving oil and gas sector.
The 8% salary increase, according to President Irfaan Ali who made the announcement on Thursday evening will be disbursed to public servants, teachers, members of the disciplined services, constitutional office holders, as well as Government pensioners in December, retroactively to January 1st, 2022.
Nonetheless, the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU), the General Workers’ Union (GWU), and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) have expressed disappointment over Government’s decision, arguing that the increase is an insult given the efforts working-class Guyanese have been making to keep the wheels of production turning.
President of the General Workers’ Union, Norris Witter during a telephone conversation with They Break News on Friday slammed the imposed increase which he claims works out to be approximately $5992 added to public servants receiving $74,900 per month.
He said it borders criminality because the Government continues to disregard laws that necessitate collective bargaining by foisting a pay hike for the second consecutive year.
“How can one imagine that in an oil-rich country where we have the President and the Vice President doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to special sectors of the population but only saw it fit to impose an 8% increase to the wages and salaries of public servants?” he asked.
Witter is adamant that for all categories of workers to stay afloat amid the rising cost of living, they should earn between $100,000 -$133,000.
General Secretary of the Guyana Teacher’s Union, Coretta McDonald shared similar sentiments with They Break News. She accused the Government of adopting a dictatorial approach in relation to wages and salary increases for public servants by ignoring the proposals submitted by the trade unions. Further, she opined that the raise in salary is not in line with inflation.
“Inflation rate is way over 50%, so how does this 8% which of course is going to be taxed going to cushion the effects of the high cost of living?” she asked.
The Guyana Public Service Union, prior to Thursday’s announcement filed a case at the high court challenging the Government’s imposition of a 7% increase in 2021 and neglect of collective bargaining.
The Union has not sought an order rescinding the declaration of the 7% increase to public servants, but a declaration that it was made without consultation, is in breach of the provisions of the relevant legislation and the provisions of the various collective agreements.