Following negotiations with workers’ unions, the University of Guyana (UG) administration has announced a final pay hike offer of 8% and 6% to its UB (support) and UA (academic) staff members, respectively, retroactive to January 1.
According to a press release issued by UG’s Public Relations Division, Vice-Chancellor (VC) Professor Ivelaw Griffith said that he is ready to sign the agreement and begin payments.
“I am ready to sign the agreement and begin the payments. If the agreement is signed within the next 10 days, the payments can be made with the October 2017 salaries,” he was quoted as saying in an update to the UG community on September 27.
According to the release, the offer was conveyed to the union presidents on August 30, in the context of what is affordable in keeping with the mandate by the University Council.
The release noted that exclusion of the university’s executive members from the negotiation package and consequential benefits was clearly and unambiguously communicated to the unions on September 20, in a letter which stated that, “the administration is committed to consummating an agreement that will not include members of the executive, but will include elements of performance….”
According to the press release, the VC stressed from the outset that performance of staff members will be a key consideration, while noting that the administration has honoured all requests by the unions for financial and other information during the negotiation period which began on July 12.
When contacted by this newspaper yesterday to comment on the exclusion of executive members from negotiations, the office of the public relations officer indicated that spokeswoman Paulette Paul was in a meeting but that she had noted that apart from the press release, she had no further information to share.
According to the release, the administration also reiterated what the unions know and what had been shared with the university community by the VC in his September 27 update, where he said that increases in base salaries and pension are not the only financial obligations the university has to bear.
He said obligations include benefits such as allowances for travelling, entertainment, uniforms and academic materials; study-leave (salary and housing for three months); sabbatical leave (salary and housing for 12 months); leave passage; and duty allowance for Deans, Heads and Co-coordinators.”
Additionally, it said “the university continues to pay an average of 4.5% merit award to all eligible members of the staff annually.”
The release added further that the VC said he looks forward to the collective efforts to enhance the university’s teaching and learning, research, and service to its community and the wider society.