University senior staff sick-out on hold
Stabroek News
May 7, 2004

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A sick-out by the senior staff of the University of Guyana (UG), which started on Tuesday was put on hold yesterday, when a team from the UG administration met the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA).

The UGSSA agreed to put the industrial action on hold to facilitate the meeting. It is not clear what was discussed at the meeting or whether any agreements had been reached.

The senior staff at the university had commenced the sick-out on Tuesday in protest over an unresolved interim agreement for staff's sabbatical leave passage, which was signed with the administration in September 2001. The industrial action did not affect Tuesday's sitting of final examinations.

A press release from the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) said it was forced to stage the sick-out at "such a crucial moment of the calendar of the university: final examinations."

It said the action stemmed from the unresolved interim agreement for sabbatical leave passage to London signed with the university's administration in September 2001.

A UGSSA notice had said the action was to last for three days, at which time members of the association would be informed of the way forward. It said UGSSA had written to the administration "advising them of our intention and calling for an urgent meeting to resolve the outstanding issues and prevent any disruption of final examinations."

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Al Creighton told Stabroek News on Tuesday that though it received notification of the action from UGSSA, so far the administration has not seen any noticeable action on the part of the staff or the union.

But he had cautioned that that Tuesday alone was not enough to conclude what effects, if any, the action had had, since classes were over and only exams were being written. He said the administration has to wait to see whether other events planned for the immediate future are disrupted.

The UGSSA's release stated: "On April 16, 2004 we wrote [to] the administration advising that we were providing it with 72 hours notice before considering further action." It stated further that the UGSSA received neither an acknowledgement of the letter nor an invitation for discussion.

The association said the matter has been the cause of much frustration since many of the UGSSA's members already proceeded on sabbatical without the benefit of leave passage equivalent to a round trip to London. According to the UGSSA, the matter was last discussed at a meeting on March 18, but remains unresolved.