TUC says FUGE must be consulted on appointment of public service body

Stabroek News
May 8, 2003

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The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) is contending that it is a serious omission to exclude the Federated Unions of Government Employees (FUGE) from among the entities to be consulted in respect of the appointment of members of the Public Service Commission.

According to a copy of a letter addressed to President Bharrat Jagdeo and Leader of the Opposition Robert Corbin, GTUC General Secretary Lincoln Lewis says that to include the Public Service Senior Staff Association among the entities to be consulted regarding the appointment of the PSC "would be unjustified, unwarranted and totally unacceptable."

Lewis argues that the Senior Staff Association has no collective agreement with any entity, nor does it possess a Recognition Certificate from the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Board and therefore enjoys no bargaining rights for any category of workers. On the other hand, Lewis points out, the four unions which comprise FUGE are certified unions with bargaining rights for several categories of public sector workers and traditionally has been one of the entities to be consulted.

The unions in FUGE, Lewis noted, are the AT&GWU (Amalgamated Transport and General Workers' Union), UAAW (Union of Allied and Agricultural Workers), PTWU (Postal and Telecommunication Workers' Union), and NUPSE (National Union of Public Service Employees.

"We request therefore that the Senior Staff Association be immediately withdrawn from among the entities to be consulted for appointment of the Public Service Commission," Lewis asserted. Moreover, he said, "any failure to effect immediate

remedial measures will constitute a serious breach of the right of four bona fide unions with representational rights of a large number of public sector workers to be an entity to be consulted."

Lewis also cautioned that it would be a "grievous mistake" to allow a staff association with no bargaining rights for public sector workers to be given the status of an entity to be consulted.

The letter also offered congratulations to President Jagdeo and Opposition Leader Corbin for the early success resulting from the commencement of the process of constructive engagement. The GTUC also lauded the PNCR on its return to parliament after nearly 14 months of what it referred to as political stalemate.

"It is our fervent hope," the letter said, "that this development marks a new beginning of the way in which we will conduct our national affairs and that this new initiative will irreversibly and permanently put Guyana first, while subordinating our partisan interest to that of our beloved country as a whole."

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