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