Public servants wages
Sides in last gasp talks
Stabroek News
November 20, 2003

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The government and the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) are expected to engage each other under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour on Monday in a further attempt to break the stalemate in wages talks.

The parties have been meeting since June 6 but are yet to reach agreement on increases for public servants, with the government proposing a 2.5% increase for 2003, which the GPSU has objected to.

At the five negotiating sessions the parties have only managed to move from a position of 2.5% for 2003 to that of a final offer of 10% over three years. This would see public servants getting 3.5% for 2003, 3.0% for 2004 and 3.5% for 2005.

The union is demanding that the minimum wage for 2003 be $37,757, rising to 45,308 in 2004 and finally to 56,635 in 2005.

Several weeks ago the union had signalled its intention to have the matter dealt with at arbitration and proceeded to write to Chief Labour Officer, Mohamed Akeel requesting such a move.

GPSU official Patricia Went yesterday alluded to the issue of allowances which is proving to be a major sticking point between the parties.

According to Went, the union was requesting that the matter be taken to arbitration but was prepared to make a further attempt at conciliation talks.