The National Association of Agricultural Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) is threatening industrial action at the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) if demands for higher salaries are not met.
NAACIE General Secretary Kenneth Joseph told Stabroek News yesterday that the power company has been issued with a one-month ultimatum.
“Our members have been peeved but patient. This period of patience has eventually been exhausted. And I have I have been instructed …to inform you that we respectfully treat this letter to you as an ultimatum according to the Public Utility Undertaking Act…,” a letter dispatched by Secretary of NAACIE to Minister of Labour Dr Nanda Kishore Gopaul yesterday, stated.
“If the company continues to breach our CLA signed on the 27th November, 2001 the union and its members of GPL especially will take whatever action [they deem] necessary to force the GPL to respect our CLA and re-implement its clauses 1, 2 3 and 52,” the letter went on to state.
When Joseph was asked if the union would definitely call out the junior and senior staff, he categorically stated, “Yes of course we will because that is all that is left.”
He said the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), which also represents senior power company staffers, has pledged solidarity and would be calling out its members as well.
The NAACIE boss expressed grave concern about what he termed GPL’s imposition of a salary offer during months of protracted negotiations.
“This company takes advantage of us,” he said.
Joseph lamented that his union’s 900-plus members had always been respectful of their part of the bargaining agreement and this is not the first time they have been forced to take industrial action to get the GPL to uphold its part.
He pointed out that GPL’s CEO Bharat Dindyal continues to benefit from clauses pertaining to wages and salaries of past expatriates; claiming that his salary is paid in US dollars while all other employees receive local currency.
Joseph vowed that NAACIE will not relent since if it did it would be “throwing away” all that the union and government had fought for over the years.
“I feel if we let this go we will be the losers, as all the things we have asked for are things this present government had been fighting for… This is not just about industrial action it’s about the total imposition,” he said.