The Guyana Labour Union (GLU) is threatening strike action if workers of the New Amsterdam Town Council do not receive their October salaries by today.
In a statement issued on Tuesday and signed by its General Secretary Carville Duncan, the union said it had no alternative and would send an ultimatum to the council informing it that the workers would be called off on strike until their salaries are paid. It said it would also ask for a guarantee on when payments for the remainder of the year would be made.
The statement said that the matter was also brought to the attention of the Ministry of Local Government. It said too that it had discovered that some state agencies had contributed to this situation by not honouring their commitments to the council.
Duncan told this newspaper yesterday that he formally made representation to Minister Kellawan Lall, who he said was due to meet the New Amsterdam Town Clerk and Mayor later this week for a full briefing on the situation. “So we’re hoping for some government intervention in the matter because otherwise the council is really unable to pay,” he said. Duncan said he understood why the municipalities were unable to pay workers on a timely basis.
“All of the municipalities, their revenue base has not increased in about two or three years but their operations’ costs have escalated and so even if they collect all their revenue they can’t meet their costs,” he said.
Duncan added that the union and the council have been very close over the years and so they have been communicating frequently, but he maintained that if the matter was not resolved the workers would strike.
Efforts by this newspaper to solicit a comment from officials at the council proved futile as numerous telephone calls went unanswered.
Lall had also left office early yesterday afternoon when this newspaper attempted to get a comment from him, while calls to the ministry’s permanent secretary also went unanswered.