Wage negotiations expected to be mutually beneficial – Minister Harmon

Georgetown, GINA, June 22, 2016

At the start of wage negotiations today with the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU), Government is hopeful that the talks would be fruitful to both parties.

Addressing the media today, at the Ministry of the Presidency, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said that an initial proposal made by the trade union body which included a 40 percent public servant wage increase, was handed to Government after Cabinet ended yesterday.

He explained that it was “early days yet” hence the Government’s team will have to examine this. “I am sure that they will arrive at a figure that is practical in all circumstances.”

Minister Harmon indicated that he wasn’t surprised since all unions operated this way with regards to wage demands, “by putting out their stuff to the public and putting you on the back foot.”

It is his opinion that the atmosphere in which the negotiations will take place “is a friendly atmosphere. There is no antagonism between the Public Service Union and the Government side, and therefore we expect that both sides will negotiate and negotiate hard.”

The Minister also expressed optimism on Government’s behalf because, “collective bargaining is the hallmark of the relationship between unions and the respect which the Government has for the unions, the workers’ representatives will be recognised in the manner in which these negotiations take place.”

The Government’s negotiating team is led by Permanent Secretary in the Department of Public Service, Reginald Brotherson, Ministry of Finance’s Tarchand Balgobin, Consultant Sandra Jones and Advisor in Ministry of the Presidency, Fredrick Mc Wilfred.