GPL, managers for conciliation over 2016 allowances

The executive of the Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL) and the union representing its managers, which have been at odds over the negotiation of 2016 allowances, have agreed to move to the Department of Labour for conciliation to resolve the dispute.

The decision was made during a meeting between the parties yesterday, the Chairman of GPL’s Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) branch Walter George told Stabroek News.

The managers began protests against the executive last week, stating that the company seemed unwilling to meet with them at the bargaining table. On day one of the protests, the executive sent a correspondence proposing a meeting on April 10th, but the union pushed on with its demonstrations, calling for an earlier date. The issues, as presented by the union, were that GPL’s executive was reportedly refusing to comply with an agreement that was drafted to put off the negotiation of 2016 allowances to last year. Furthermore, it was claimed that at the last meeting, held in February, the union was presented with a document outlining new wages that had not been previously agreed to.

George reported yesterday that while they were able to come to a consensus on the 2017 wages, which includes a 3½% increase across the board, the 2016 wages are still being disputed.

“We met today and we agreed on the 2017 figures… however, the CEO [Chief Executive Officer] noted that he cannot agree to 2016 allowances, because, one, he said that they can’t afford it, and two, they get a problem with interpreting the clause in the 2016 agreement. Hence, he said he preferred it to go to Labour and we agreed to go to Labour to resolve allowances for 2016,” George related.

Despite them being in disagreement over the issue, George stated that the interaction with GPL’s new CEO Albert Gordon was “encouraging,” while noting that he seems “keen on improving the social relationship within the company” and “willing to meet favourably the concerns of the staff.”

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