Public Service wages dispute for arbitration
-- Luncheon
Guyana Chronicle
October 31, 2002

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HEAD of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon yesterday indicated that the Public Service Ministry, acting on behalf of the Government, would be opting for arbitration in an effort to resolve the impending deadlock surrounding the disputes over increased wages and salaries for 2002.

He noted at his regular post-Cabinet news conference that employers and employees are aware that disputes over increases in wages and salaries for 2002 in the private sector, State sector and the Public Service have continued unresolved until this date.

Luncheon pointed out that in most instances, the Grievance Procedure has been invoked and many of these disputes are at the level of the Ministry of Labour where conciliatory and mediation services are being offered.

"The most recent example, of course, is the resort to the good offices of the Ministry of Labour by the Collective Bargaining Unit members in the sugar industry, private sector, the insurance industry and the Government employees in the public service," he said.

According to him, the services of the Ministry of Labour in two of the more important sectors - the state sector (the Guyana Sugar Corporation) and the Government sector (the Public Service) - had resulted in both parties reaching a deadlock and resorted to a request for arbitration.

Cabinet was informed that arbitration was the preferable option and apparently was agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement in the sugar industry between the union (NAACIE) and the management of GUYSUCO, he said.

In the case of the Public Service, Luncheon said the unions representing the workers there have formally indicated to the Chief Labour Officer, their request for arbitration and the Minister of Labour has indicated that the Chief Labour Officer would be calling a meeting of both parties to respond to the union's request for arbitration.

"The expectation and the anticipation is that the Public Service Ministry, acting on behalf of the Government would opt for arbitration and allow the resolution of wages and salaries increases for 2002 to be settled through arbitration instead of the standard strike and industrial confrontation," Luncheon said.