A final offer for differentiated wage increases for public servants ranging from 10% at the lowest scale to 1% at the highest has been made by the Guyana Government and the GPSU is to consider the proposal.
The government offer revealed in a statement last night after two months of talks, falls far below the Guyana Public Service Union’s (GPSU) initial demand of a 40% across-the-board hike which it later amended to 25%.
According to the statement, the government and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) yesterday concluded discussions on wages and salaries for public servants within the bargaining unit for 2016. There was no word from the GPSU which has not commented on the wage negotiations over the last two months.
The government statement said that negotiations were held within a two-month period from June 22, 2016 to August 24, 2016.
It said that the initial proposal of the GPSU was for a 40% across the board rise for public servants. This was subsequently adjusted to 25%. The union also asked for allowances to be included in the negotiations.
The government counter-proposed a differentiated approach to increases that aimed to provide the greatest relief to those within the lower Salary Bands of the Public Service Wages and Salaries Structure as follows:
- persons earning below $100,000 would receive 5.5%
- persons earning $100,000 to $300,000 would receive 5%
- persons earning $300,000 to $800,000 would receive 4.5%
- persons earning $800,000 to $1,000,000 would receive 2%
- persons earning over a $1,000,000 would receive 1%
The below $100,000.00 percentage offer of 5.5% was later increased to 6%
The statement said that during this period both the government and the GPSU presented proposals and recommendations having agreed that relief for public servants was immediate and necessary. It added that the timespan was influenced by requests made by the Union for information and data which the government as far as possible, sought to provide.
The release said that the government also agreed to consider a review of allowances for public servants immediately upon the conclusion of the negotiations for wages and salaries. As a consequence, a Tripartite Committee composed of representatives from the Department of the Public Service, the Ministry of Finance and the GPSU was set up to address this issue.
The government’s proposal took into consideration the vital need for a restructured public service which included the adjustment of scales for wages and salaries; the implementation of a merit increment system; and a settling of the issue of bunching, the statement said. It was pointed out to the Union, that each of these would entail an additional cost to Government and result in increased earnings for Public Servants.
The GOG’s proposal was rejected by the Union.
The Government reconsidered its position and a final offer was presented as follows:
The government release said that it was pointed out to the GPSU that the government’s final offer for wages and salaries increases for public servants had taken into consideration the current socio-economic environment; the difficulty in agreeing to increases that would entail having to mobilise additional revenue and the unsustainability of any further addition to its offer with regard to the current and future budgets.
The Union was also reminded of the relief measures that were granted to public servants since the APNU+AFC office in May 2015.
Those measures included an increase of the Minimum wage to $50,000; a 5% across-the-board plus $5000 increase, all within the 2015 National Budget, and, a one-off bonus of $50,000 for Public Servants earning below $500,000 per month in December 2015.
The release said that the GPSU agreed to consider the Government’s final offer and said that a response will be forthcoming after a meeting of its General Council.
In its 2015 manifesto, the APNU+AFC government had promised substantial wage increases to public servants but these did not materialise. Instead, Cabinet ministers were awarded a 50% hike in their salaries, attracting widespread condemnation.