Ramotar hopes for meaningful negotiations on public servants pay hike

President Donald Ramotar says he hopes this year’s wage increase to public servants will be preceded by meaningful negotiations with the relevant stakeholders.

For more than a decade the government has been imposing the annual wage increase to public servants without resort to bargaining with the main workers’ union. Instead, the government has continued to make the decision unilaterally, offering 5% per annum. The latest such decision was taken last year.

If the president’s optimism materialises, public servants may receive a more acceptable increase this year or, at least their union would have been part of the process which preceded the increase. Ramotar says that he would like to give public servants as much as can be afforded, and he hopes such negotiations take place as soon as possible.

Following an announcement last year by government that public servants would be paid a 5% increase, the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) demanded that government rethink its offer and threatened to take industrial actions if a higher increase was not offered.

Following statements by the government that 5% is all that can be afforded, GPSU President Patrick Yarde said public servants would stage several protest actions. These actions fell short of anything substantial and have since fizzled to nothing. Yarde, who was at the helm of efforts to get the increase raised, has not been heard from in weeks.

Several calls have been made to his office for an update but he has not been there to receive them.

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