HEAD of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) overseeing operations of the Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union (GPSCCU), Trevor Benn, said the body’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is scheduled for August 2020, even as more ways to serve the members are being deliberated.
It is at the AGM that the election for office bearers for a new official executive for the GPSCCU will be held and where the payment of dividends to the credit union’s approximately 25, 000 members will be approved.
“All things being equal, before the end of August we should have the AGM. That’s the plan and it has been budgeted for this year. We’re aiming and working towards that,” Benn told Guyana Chronicle on Wednesday.
Benn further explained that the AGM was pushed back somewhat because “We are in a national elections year and we felt that it was not the right time to have this sort of elections around the national elections, so we decided to have some space between the two.”
Delay of the AGM is also due to the union currently wrapping up audits for the 2017 – 2018 period which would need to be completed and approved to clear the way for the calculations and paying of dividends for the members.
In the meantime, Benn noted the IMC is continuing to look at ways to improve conditions for the staff and services for the members of the union.
“We’ve done a lot in the last 18 months for both staff and members. We are looking at ways in which we can broaden our services to the members. We are looking at getting involved in housing and we find that lots of our members come to get the down payment to go to the bank for car loans, so we feel that rather than giving the down payments, they could take the entire loan from the union,” Benn noted.
FIVE LUCKY MEMBERS
In December last year, the IMC carried out a promotion that saw five lucky members, with at least five years membership, and whose salaries are less than $100,000, winning $500,000 each, in an inaugural promotion.
The IMC has been running the operations of the credit union since it was installed in May 2018 by the Ministry of Social Protection, due to the “unsatisfactory” performance of the previous management team, headed by GPSU President, Patrick Yarde.
At the time, there were allegations about mismanagement of the union by the previous management committee. That management committee has since called for evidence to be produced to show the alleged mismanagement.
Yarde has also questioned decisions and actions taken by the IMC since installation. Benn has since defended the decisions and actions, noting that it was to the benefit of the staff working for the union and to the members.
Upon taking over operations at the union, the IMC paid out over $100M in interim dividends to its members, by November 2018; prior to that, no dividends had been paid to the members since 2010.
The IMC has also rectified several staffing issues at the credit union where there was previously no pension plan, and only a few of the staff were receiving what was required in gratuity payment.
“As we begun to look at the gamut of our work, we were horrified to know that staff was working under less than humane conditions. The salary was pitiful, the conditions in the building were pitiful and the morale was very low,” Benn related.
The GPSCCU Hadfield Street building was also rehabilitated.
“We could not continue to serve our customers and members under the conditions our staff was made to work. We wanted to ensure our building was a modern one so we rehabilitated it. The building is old but the inside has been modernised to ensure working conditions reached certain standards,” Benn explained.
The IMC has also since instituted a pension plan, medical scheme and paternity leave for staff when, on Wednesday, a new Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) was signed with the employees’ union, the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU).