Workers continue protest against Duncan –Duncan says issues affecting them being addressed
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Guyana Labour Union General Secretary, Carvil Duncan
Guyana Labour Union General Secretary, Carvil Duncan

SOME 20 Guyana Labour Union (GLU) members, who are staff on the Unfixed Establishment of the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown, yesterday for the third consecutive day, picketed outside the union’s headquarters, demanding the removal of Carvil Duncan as General Secretary.

The employees are pressing demands for the General Secretary’s removal, claiming that for the years he has been general secretary, he has done nothing tangible for them.

According to the protestors, they were being glued to the Unfixed Establishment category of employment for ridiculously long periods – as long as 25 to 30 years, whereas, other persons (new comers) are moved up to the Fixed Establishment within two to three months.

Also, two GLU field officers, attached to City Hall claim their salaries for the month of March were withheld, and to date, they have not been paid.

The duo claimed they were told that the general secretary had instructed that they not be paid their salaries unless they submit the monthly Field Officers’ Report detailing day-to- day visits and action taken.

The officers admitted to the Guyana Chronicle that they had failed to submit the reports alluded to, but said that others were also guilty of the same offence and had not been dealt with by the union.

Accordingly, they feel they have been deliberately singled out for that course of action, and view it as victimisation.

Protesters outside the GLU offices on Camp Street, Georgtown on Wednesday

An employee said ideally there should be an Executive body that persons can go to, and have them look after complaints.

However, the three-year-term of the National Executive expired last year, and no elections were held during the month of September, thus for now the general secretary seems to be “Lording it over all”, and is totally in-charge.

On the matter of Establishment, a female field officer, who had been working with the GLU for the last several years, said the union went to arbitration in relation to the matter of Fixed/Unfixed Establishment.

She said an award was given by retired Judge Prem Persaud, instructing that the employees be placed on the Fixed so that when they retire they could have a pension.

According to the field officer, “Mr. Duncan never really paid it any heed, but has been placing the blame on the people of City Council.”

Duncan told Guyana Chronicle that as far as he is aware, the workers are concerned that there are some outstanding issues, perhaps dating back to two or three years ago, and efforts have begun to have them addressed.

“We addressed the question of increase in wages and salaries for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, which, if calculated together, will give something like 32 per cent increase over the period.”

He said there are still outstanding matters on the Collective Labour Agreements; issues pertaining to the agreement, like conditions governing uniforms, safety gears and putting persons on the Fixed Establishment, which has been outstanding for the last four or five years, among other things.

However, he placed a high premium on a matter outstanding for four or five years – the arbitration matter in relation to putting persons on the Fixed Establishment, but said that the matter has not yet been resolved, contrary to what Field Officer, Irma Glen reported.

Duncan said it was agreed that the salary issue would first be addressed, and that having been cleared, the others will follow.

But definitely, he said, it was agreed with Council that sometime next week (second week of April), they will meet to iron out those issues and others, such as moving the retirement age of people on the Fixed Establishment from 55 to 60.

Notwithstanding, he said, what Council was preoccupied with, was getting money to pay regular salaries in a situation where it was cash-strapped. And more so, to ensure that there was employment and no retrenchment.

“That was our major focus,” the general secretary declared.

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