The joint membership of the UGSSA and UGWU view the lawsuit filed by UG Vice Chancellor against UGSSA president Dr Mellissa Ifill in response to a no confidence petition against him as “an attempt to bully and intimidate” and they say it will be vigorously challenged.
Members of the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) and University of Guyana Workers’ Union (UGWU) said their leaders, Dr Ifill and Bruce Haynes, respectively, circulated the no confidence petition with their authorisation and endorsement at a general meeting held on June 23rd.
In a press release, the unions said they stand by the petition both in its general and specific content and that the lawsuit it has elicited by the VC that specifically names the UGSSA president “is a signature action by Professor Opadeyi in the sense of being ad hominem, malicious and vindictive and confirms the rationale for the issuance of the Petition of No Confidence.” The unions find it unprecedented and unhelpful that the Vice-Chancellor sought recourse to the law against the UGSSA president, not-withstanding Section 7 (1) of the Trades Union Act, which states that unions, or their members or officers, cannot be sued for actions on behalf of their union. “This private action by the VC, which should not replace his official response, is diametrically opposed to the spirit of the Minister of Education’s expectation and public statement that “…I don’t think [the Vice Chancellor] would stay in a situation where nobody wants to work with him….”
“We see this suit as an attack on all staff and the Unions. It is an attempt to bully and intimidate and will be legally and vigorously defended,” the statement said.
The unions remain convinced that this will only serve to exacerbate an already unhealthy atmosphere at the university. The unions remain committed to serving its membership and will continue to carry on their work without fear.