UG announces unilateral wage hikes for staff

Saying that negotiations with workers’ unions did not progress beyond differences over the agenda, University of Guyana (UG) Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith has moved unilaterally to pay increases to eligible academic and support staff. 

By way of a statement issued yesterday, UG said its Finance and General Purposes Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved the request of for salary increases at the rate of 3% for all eligible UA (academic) staff and 4% for all eligible UB (support) staff, retroactive to January 1st, 2018, which Griffith said is all the university can afford at this time.

“[A]lthough the 2018 negotiations with the unions never moved beyond differences over the agenda, I felt obliged to act on what we had planned all along to do; that is, to offer a salary increase for 2018,” Griffith was quoted as saying in the statement. He added, “The Administration maintains the principled position that performance will be a factor in this exercise, and that no academic staff with outstanding grades will be granted the increase.” 

Attempts were made to garner comments from the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) and the University of Guyana Workers’ Union (UGWU), however, Stabroek News was told that comments regarding the decision will be made after discussions are held on the announcement.  

The UG statement further said that as with previous salary increases, this salary adjustment requires finding money for the allowances that are pegged to salaries. “For example, housing allowances are tied to salaries at the rate of 20 percent. Overall, the adjustment this year will cost the University G$ 81.34 million,” it said.

Griffith, the statement said, further noted that while the percentage increase is modest, it is guided by the principle of affordability. “G$81.34 million is what the university can afford at this time,” the statement added, while noting that the increase is granted with the knowledge that there is an understandable expectation by staff members for some form of financial relief for the year. 

UG said increases will be paid to UG staff members by December 20th, 2018. It noted that considering the increases granted for 2017, the combined increase over two years amount to 9% for UA staff and 12% for UB workers.   

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