UG staff threatens industrial action over salary increase

first_img– demands Administration abandons 10% increase for top officialsAmere few days following the installation of its ninth chancellor, the University of Guyana (UG) is again facing challenges, as its academic and non-academic staff have threatened a series of industrial action today, Friday 20, if the administration does not concede to their demands.The University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) and the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) said if the fairly new administration does not adhere to their calls for increases in salaries, the situation could become harsh.They are also demanding that the planned 10 per cent increase for senior officials of the institution be abandoned.In a release Wednesday afternoon, the two unions said faculty and staff at the university will be launching a protest calling for increased salaries and benefits as talks between the unions and the administration hit a roadblock.They said UG’s administration and council have already been warned that if their demands are not met some form of industrial action could begin as early as today.The two unions are demanding, among other things, that academic and non-academic staff receive 23 per cent and 25 per cent increase in their salaries respectively, retroactive to January 2016 along with all benefits submitted to the university’s administration on April 20, 2016. This they require to be paid in their May 2016 salaries.The unions said the administration has not been keeping the promises it made on April 18, 2016, to stop the across-the-board increase for the statutory officers. Among the key demands is for the council to rescind its decision to pay statutory officers—two deputy vice chancellors, the registrar and the bursar—a 10 per cent increase in salaries retroactive to January, 2015, until it can offer adequate justification for such actions.They said it is the very administration which claimed it had no monies to pay benefits including 10 bursaries for their children who performed with distinction at national exams, yet the administration found over $8 million to increase the salaries of statutory officers who had just joined the university, a mere 8 months ago, and all others within the last two years. “Some of whose take-home pay amounts to approximately $1 million per month.”“If the University of Guyana’s administration and Council go ahead and pay the 10 per cent increase to the statutory officers, the unions say they will “reassert their previous demand of a 60 per cent increase in salaries retroactive to January 2016 and all submitted demands contained in our Memorandum of Demands dated February 16, 2015.”The new development by the two unions has come one year after a similar exercise of this nature came up, where under the leadership of former Vice Chancellor Dr Jacob Opadeyi, the two unions protested for nearly five weeks, demanding better working conditions and salary increases.The series of protests had caused massive disruption of classes, much to the annoyance of the UGSS which also took to protesting for the resumption of classes.The protests finally ended following the signing of a Terms of Resumption Agreement.The Terms of Resumption Agreement stated that upon the recommencement of classes, there would be no victimisation or harassment by either side such as dismissals, demotions, transfers, among others.The first issues that were to be addressed, as outlined in the agreement, were allowances and other conditions of work.The UG Administration was also expected to broker agreements with the Guyana Revenue Authority; National Insurance Scheme; credit unions; and all other loan agencies paid through the university to prevent penalties to staff for outstanding payments.Some of the other demands made by the unions were for projectors to be installed in all large classrooms, well-refurbished blackboards and whiteboards to be available in all classrooms; sufficient markers, chalk, erasers, among other teaching materials, as well as an adequate internet supply, and for computers to be supplied for the desks of all Deans, Directors, Heads of Departments, Heads of Sections and Coordinators.The unions had said a few days later that the administration had violated those terms of resumption.last_img read more

GuySuCo blames NICIL for putting divestment of estates at risk

first_imgGuySuCo HeadquartersThe Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is blaming the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited/Special Purpose Unit ((NICIL/SPU) for the current troubles with the divestment process, saying that the Unit has left it in the dark about the sales of its own assets.In a strongly-worded statement in which it accused the SPU of unprofessionalism, GuySuCo criticised NICIL’s approach to the divestment. According to GuySuCo, NICIL has been slothful and because of this, has not executed any major investments with the process approaching its second year.“NICIL/SPU’s single role was to divest GuySuCo’s assets from the Skeldon, Rose Hall, East Demerara (Enmore) and Wales estates; however, due to its slothfulness and less than credible ‘divestment’ tactics, it has now placed at risk the retooling and restructuring of GuySuCo as it is clearly outlined in the Government of Guyana (GoG) State Paper on the Future of the Sugar Industry,” GuySuCo said in its statement.“NICIL/SPU, having been unable to divest the assets in a timely manner, convinced its principals that the Bond was an appropriate alternative as an interim financial arrangement; the divestment process is now approaching its second year and NICIL/SPU has not executed one significant investment.”In addition, GuySuCo slammed NICIL for the current arrangement that sees it pocketing proceeds from the assets it did divest. GuySuCo claimed that it should be the other way around, so that the Corporation could fund its own strategic plan.“As a matter of fact, in an attempt to extend the life of the SPU, having been created for the specific purposes above and within a particular timeframe; the agency has now assumed the role and operates as a proprietor and landlord. This is totally inconsistent with its intended purposes,” the Corporation complained.“Additionally, GuySuCo is still awaiting a full report from NICIL/SPU on all and any transaction(s) which were completed or are in progress in relation to its immoveable and moveable assets, including the scrap metals, machinery, plant and equipment.”This is telling, as in April of this year, reports had emerged that scrap metal from GuySuCo worth $3 billion was sold to a mysterious buyer, but the proceeds from the sale were not received by the Corporation.The Government has been silent on this transaction, with former Business Minister Dominic Gaskin distancing his Ministry from the sale when questioned by <>> in April. The Business Ministry has overall responsibility for the scrap metal trade.Nor is that all. According to GuySuCo, it is yet to be informed by NICIL about the extent of the valuation done by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) into its assets, information others, including Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, have repeatedly called for.Since the valuation was done, the report done by PWC is yet to be released to the public. In its statement, GuySuCo questioned whether all the estates, including cultivation and other assets, were valuated.CooperationGuySuCo also refuted recent claims made by NICIL that it has not been cooperating and has been withholding information. It insisted that it has in fact been providing information about the Estates for the divestment process – with the records to back it up.GuySuCo expressed the view that NICIL/SPU used its June 3 press conference, where the claim was made that among other things GuySuCo has not been cooperating, to distract the public from the slow pace of divestment.In GuySuCo’s statement, it provided the dates for every document it handed over and the persons receiving them. The documents date all the way back to November 20, 2017, when the fixed asset registers for Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates were handed over.In this and several other cases, the documents were handed over to NICIL’s in-house lawyer Arianne McLean. In other cases, however, the documents were handed over to other employees at NICIL.Other documents include the minutes of board meetings and operating statistics from the Enmore Estate. GuySuCo even claims it provided the Enmore Estate field map, hectares per bed layout and the Enmore cane nursery size in 2018. Details from other Estates were also provided, GuySuCo said, including information on the soil.Another allegation refuted by GuySuCo in its statement was the claim that it has requested duty-free concessions for the purchase of luxury vehicles from the $30 billion bond NICIL raised for the recapitalisation of the Sugar Estates. According to GuySuCo, the only vehicles it requested duty-free concessions for were double- and single-cab pickups for normal agricultural use in the sugar cane cultivation.Even as the controversy continues regarding the divestment of GuySuCo’s assets, concerns have already been expressed about what will happen if Government defaults on the $30 billion bond it arranged last year. In such a case, bondholders would have the option of levying on NICIL’s portfolio of assets, which include the Marriott Hotel.SPU Head Colvin Heath-Londonlast_img read more

Provincial budget taking a road trip

first_imgThe public hearings will begin September 15, once the 2012 Budget Consultation Paper has been received by the committee. The process will include stops in 13 communities, as well as two video-conferences in 8 more areas. While the committee won’t be making the trip to Dawson Creek, there will be a hearing by video-conference on October 5.- Advertisement – Residents are encouraged to participate by submitting a written statement, responding to a survey or submitting audio or video files on their website. The deadline for public input is Friday, October 14. To register, contact committee staff by phone at 1-877-428-8337, or by e-mail at Registration opens at 1:00 p.m. today, September 8.last_img

Airbus has $16 billion deal with Honeywell

first_imgAVIATION: Torrance-linked firm will build power units for new line of A350 wide-body planes. By Donna Borak THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Honeywell International Inc., which has operations in Torrance, said Wednesday it will provide the major mechanical systems for Airbus’ new long-range, wide-body A350 aircraft. Both Goodrich Corp. and a division of United Technologies Corp., Hamilton Sundstrand, say they will be competing for future work on the aircraft. Charlotte, N.C.-based Goodrich is providing Airbus with a structure to cover the engine and a system to decelerate the aircraft during landing for all three of the A350’s passenger planes. The deal is expected to generate $10 billion over the next 20 years, the company said. The A350XWB family is Airbus’ plan for a series of efficient, medium-capacity, long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 9,569 miles, it is available in three basic passenger versions: the A350-800 accommodating 270 passengers, the A350-900 seating 314, and the A350-1000 for 350 passengers. Total firm orders and commitments for the A350XWB stand at 254 aircraft, including 154 firm orders and 100 commitments. The Airbus aircraft is scheduled to hit the market about five years after rival Boeing Co.’s new midsize, long-haul 787 jetliner. To date, Boeing has received 706 orders for the 787. The plane is sold out through late 2013. Business writer Muhammed El-Hasan contributed to this article.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The contract is expected to generate more than $16 billion in revenue over 20 to 25 years. Honeywell said the contract is the largest systems and equipment package Airbus has awarded to date on this program. As part of the deal, Honeywell will design and build an auxiliary power unit and other equipment that supply pneumatic and electric power for the aircraft while on the ground or in-flight. The company also will build systems to manage all of the air used on the aircraft for environmental control, including cabin heating, cooling and pressurization. Airbus has yet to announce deals for its avionics and cockpit controls for the redesigned A350, which has traditionally been a strong area for Honeywell, JPMorgan securities analyst C. Stephen Tusa said in a note to clients. Honeywell spokesman Bill Reavis said it is too early to say whether the work will mean more jobs in the South Bay. Honeywell Aerospace employs 1,112 workers in Torrance, where it makes products that control the environment on planes and cool aircraft machinery. last_img read more

Liverpool joined in race for Ajax star by AC Milan

first_imgAC Milan have joined Liverpool in the race for Ajax star Anwar El Ghazi.The winger has been in fine form this season and has struck eight goals in the Eredivisie so far.The 20-year-old’s performances have attracted interest from Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp a fan of the Dutchman.However, according to Tuttosport, Milan have now joined the race for El Ghazi.The Serie A side scouted the youngster in December and have been impressed by what they have seen.Ajax are said to value El Ghazi at around £8m and Milan are expected to bid in the coming days. Anwar El Ghazi 1last_img

Final: Vikings 34, Raiders 14: studs and duds

first_imgMINNEAPOLIS — Uh oh.If you wanted to write a manual on how not to start an NFL road game, it would read like the Raiders’ woeful start Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.The start of the second half didn’t go much better in a 34-14 loss before a crowd of 66,738. With a celebrated rookie class, some expensive free agents and Derek Carr with a full year in the Jon Gruden system, the … Click here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.last_img

Global award for young South African innovator

first_imgRay Maota The Intel International Science and Engineering Faire provides a forum for more than 1 500 high school pupils from about 70 countries around the world to showcase their independent research and vie for the awards on offer. (Image: Society for Science and the Public) Chené Mostert is not a newcomer to science fairs and has been a regular at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists since she was in third grade. (Image: Hip2B2) MEDIA CONTACTS • Society for Science and the Public  + 202 872 5136 RELATED ARTICLES • Big science coming to Africa • Denel helps maths, science pupils • Yes, it is rocket science • SA academic gets top science awardWhile brushing her teeth one night at her home in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, 17-year-old Chené Mostert caught sight of the toilet that stands next to the basin in her family’s bathroom. Her mind raced to the realisation that – as she had been taught at school – cold, wet places like that toilet are ideal breeding places for bacteria.Just over a year later, an idea that crept into her head on that auspicious night has won her an international award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Isef) in the US city of Pittsburg. The award was given to her by the American Dental Association Foundation.Mostert, a matric pupil at Ladysmith High School, took home one of the prizes at the annual competition innovators in May for inventing a device that sterilises toothbrushes. Isef provides a forum for more than 1 500 high school pupils from about 70 countries around the world to showcase their independent research and vie for the awards on offer.“I take part in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists every year, and earlier this year I was looking for an idea for a project,” said Mostert, explaining how her inclusion in the US contest came about.Her project stood out at the local expo and she was one of nine candidates chosen to represent South Africa at Isef.Not only did the bacteria-busting device win Mostert a US$2 000 (R17 000) cash prize, but she has also been invited by the foundation to return to the US for an opportunity to patent her invention in December.How the device worksAs part of her research, Mostert tested more than 150 used toothbrushes, and found more than 100 different types of bacteria growing on the bristles.“I tested toothbrushes from all the provinces and from neighbouring countries for the presence of pathogenic bacteria,” she explained to the KZN-based Witness newspaper.Four disease-causing micro-organisms were found on every one of the toothbrushes she submitted, including agents that cause gum disease and the flu, among others. Another worrying find was a herpes simplex virus, which may lead to oral herpes, an infection that usually carries symptoms such as mouth blisters, sore throat and swollen glands.“I realised there was nothing on the local market for cleaning toothbrushes, so I designed a plastic box with a rotation system in which toothbrushes can be stored and cleaned,” said Mostert.The box can hold up to four brushes and contains hydrogen peroxide. To sterilise the brushes, the user has to turn a handle attached to the box, which then puts an internal scrubbing brush to work on getting the bacteria off.Mostert is a veteran of the Eskom expo, having attended since grade three, or about nine years of age.“My mind is constantly identifying problems and looking for solutions to make our world a better place.”Keeping people healthy is one of her ambitions, and Mostert hopes to realise her dream of becoming a paediatrician one day. Her plan is to attend medical school in 2013.Scientists doing SA proudSouth Africa has had a number of scientists winning prizes for their efforts in the discipline in the past year.Professor Maryke Labuschagne was honoured with the prestigious international Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award by the African Union in February 2012.Labuschagne, a plant breeding scientist at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein won $100 000 (R804 180) in prize money, which will be used to renovate laboratory facilities in the faculty of natural and agricultural sciences at the university, and to provide bursaries.In January 2012, Jill Farrant, a leading scientist in the field of plant responses to drought stress, was honoured as one of five exceptional women scientists in the 2012 L’Oréal-Unesco Awards in Life Sciences.Farrant is the research chair of plant molecular physiology at the department of molecular and cell biology at the University of Cape Town.In October 2011 Prof Malegapuru Makgoba was elected vice-president of the International Council for Science (ICSU).Makgoba, a trained physician and an internationally recognised molecular immunologist, joined the ICSU, one of the oldest NGOs in the world, which was established to promote international scientific activity with the emphasis on research outcomes that will benefit humanity.Another professor making international waves is Thembela Hillie of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.Hillie, born in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape, was selected by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management (MIT Sloan) in October 2011 to pursue a one-year mid-career fellowship in innovation and global leadership.last_img read more

Ellis uses sport to build a better world

first_imgHaving led Banyana Banyana to glory, Desiree Ellis now puts youngsters through their paces, teaching sporting values for life. (Image: MYPE)By Melissa CookGrowing up in Cape Town, Desiree Ellis was always kicking a ball. Later, professional football called and she answered. She captained the national women’s soccer team, Banyana Banyana, for 10 years. Today, as well as coaching, she devotes her time to improving the lives of others through sport.The former midfielder now spends her time doing projects for Stars in their Eyes and Soccer4All. Run by former international player and now coach George Dearnaley, the latter is a grass-roots football initiative using former South African international players to coach primary school kids. Ellis also participates in the Sports Heroes Walk Against Aids, founded by Cynthia Tshaka, and is an assistant coach of Banyana and coach at Spurs Women FC, as well as an analyst for SABC Sport.Watch Ellis and other South African sports stars on the Play Your Part TV series on Sundays on SABC2 at 9pm.last_img read more

Gene therapy helps weak mice grow strong

first_imgA virus that shuttles a therapeutic gene into cells has strengthened the muscles, improved the motor skills, and lengthened the lifespan of mice afflicted with two neuromuscular diseases. The approach could one day help people with a range of similar disorders, from muscular dystrophy to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.Many of these diseases involve defective neuromuscular junctions—the interface between neurons and muscle cells where brain signals tell muscles to contract. In one such disease, a form of familial limb-girdle myasthenia, people carry two defective copies of the gene called DOK7, which codes for a protein that’s needed to form such junctions. Their hip and shoulder muscles atrophy over many years, and some eventually have trouble breathing or end up in a wheelchair. Mice similarly missing a properly working Dok7 gene are severely underweight and die within a few weeks.In the new study, researchers led by molecular biologist Yuji Yamanashi of the University of Tokyo first injected young mice engineered to have defective Dok7 with a harmless virus carrying a good copy of the Dok7 gene, which is expressed only in muscle. Within about 7 weeks, the rodents recovered. Their muscle cells cranked out the DOK7 protein, and under a microscope their muscles had larger neuromuscular junctions than those of untreated mice with defective Dok7. What’s more, the mice grew to a healthy body weight and had essentially normal scores on tests of motor skills and muscle strength.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The next question was whether Dok7 gene therapy would help mice with a different muscle disease. The Tokyo group gave the treatment to mice with a rodent form of Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD), an inherited disease in humans involving a defect in a gene for a muscle protein that also leads to abnormal neuromuscular junctions and muscle weakness and wasting. These mice, too, lived longer, had larger neuromuscular junctions and did better on motor tests than untreated mice with the disease, the team reports online today in Science (see video showing that treated mice get up faster than untreated rodents when placed on their side).The results weren’t as dramatic as in Dok7-deficient mice—the treated EDMD mice were still scrawny and had a shortened lifespan. But the Japanese team says this is likely because the mice’s genetic defect also results in heart problems that the treatment did not address; people with EDMD receive pacemakers. Yamanashi says his group is now testing the DOK7 therapy in other diseases and in larger animals.Most gene therapy treatments for neuromuscular disease aim to correct a specific genetic defect, notes muscle disease researcher Martin Childers of the University of Washington, Seattle. Because these disorders are caused by hundreds or thousands of genetic mutations, targeting all these disorders that way could require “hundreds of gene therapies,” he says. However, Childers suggests, DOK7 therapy could work with many of them.last_img read more

Asian Games Archery: Men’s team clinches bronze

first_imgThe Indian trio of Rahul Banerjee, Mangal Singh Champia and Jayanta Talukdar held their nerves to beat Chinese Taipei and clinch the men’s team bronze in the Archery competition of the Asian Games in Guangzhou on Monday.Banerjee, Champia and Talukdar defeated the Chinese Taipei team of Cheng Wei Kuo, Chia Chun Sung and Kang Tien 220-216 in the bronze medal match.This was India’s second archery medal at the ongoing Games after the women’s team too settled for the third place on Sunday at the Aoti Archery Range.The men on Monday started their campaign by beating Bangladesh 221-186. The next round was also a cakewalk as they beat Nepal 221-194 before losing to Korea 216-222 in the semifinal match.In the bronze medal match, the Indians took the upperhand by scoring 57 against Taipei’s 52 in the first set but the balance tilted in the third set.The Indian trio scored 53 against Taipei’s 58.But the three regained their composure in the final set and notched up 54 points against Taipei’s 50 to clinch the bronze medal.With PTI inputslast_img read more