President of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Patrick Yarde says its members’ commitment to fighting for workers’ rights has helped it to withstand hostility and attacks aimed at hindering its ability to serve them.
In its 91st anniversary message, Yarde said he is grateful that the founding fathers were able to realise their vision “which enshrined the birth of togetherness and a commitment to [the] pursuit of ‘Justice for All Public Service Employees’ by organising union members and involving the widest possible participation of public sector workers.
“The development of a career workforce for the Guyana public service meant that well trained professionals would serve without fear or favour, discharging duties to the best of their abilities in a lawful manner and consistent with the policies of the government of the day, while simultaneously ensuring that there was fair and even-handed treatment for all employees, job satisfaction, security of tenure and that guaranteed advancement based on good performance,” he said in a press release.
In keeping with its mission, the GPSU has pursued respect and dignity for public servants, including rights to annual vacation leave with vacation allowances free of restrictions that were separate and distinct from paid salary. Where government failed to provide the union stepped in to ensure that workers had access to a range of benefits from medical assistance to bursary awards for them and their children along with many other forms of meaningful support.
The union was also in the vanguard that led to the amendment of the Constitution of Guyana to provide for the establishment of the Public Service Appellate Tribunal (PSAT) as well as other worker friendly legislation and it is disappointing that the government has failed to uphold this constitutional requirement, resulting in no PSAT being appointed for almost a decade.
The GPSU has been calling attention to the abuse of power, corruption and the overpowering display of bad governance that has in recent times plagued the nation. “The Union never ceases being a voice for justice, equality, racial harmony and national unity and has always strived to help people generally,” Yarde said, adding that it has amassed enemies and encountered hostility in pursuit of these ideals but steadfastly takes the stand for causes which merit the support of any right-thinking functionary.
Currently, hostile attacks on the union have resulted in the blockage of finances, deprivation of property that was to be used for recreational facilities to members, obstruction of the its ability to give medical, education, legal and financial assistance to members. “One of the most grievous experiences was the Government of Guyana blunt refusal to support the “Children Day Care Project” which was designed to provide a clean and healthy environment for the children of members, during work or study,” Yarde said.