City Hall workers to strike today

first_img…over non-payment of NIS, PAYE, Credit Union dues…although Municipality deducts $280M from wagesCity Hall may find itself in hot water today if workers decide to follow the advice of the Guyana Labour Union (GLU) and go on strike until monies are remitted to the Credit Union, the Guyana Revenue Authority and the National Insurance Scheme.City HallAt Monday’s statutory meeting, the City’s Welfare Officer, Wesley Adams, informed Councillors that the administration met with the Labour Department; the General Secretary of the GLU, Carvil Duncan; the Deputy Town Clerk and other staff representatives on February 5, 2018, where it was decided that the municipality would be given two weeks to begin addressing the issues.“This morning (Monday) a member of staff brought a notice to my attention in which Mr Duncan sent out this notice informing members of staff because of the failure of the (City Hall’s) administration to address the issues there will be a withdrawal of the workers’ service tomorrow (today) and they are required to meet at the Union Hall,” he related.Adams noted that many of the issues that were being brought to fore were being addressed.“The administration met with NIS as it relates to deduction and remittance and also the Credit Union. However, this afternoon (Monday), I met with some members of staff and I told them clearly, while it is their prerogative to go on strike because the administration is trying its utmost best, I think they should think clearly before they go on strike,” Adams added.The Council was also informed that although monies are being deducted from the workers’ wages and salaries for NIS, Union dues and PAYE, those monies are not remitted to the agencies.According to the City Treasurer, Ron McAlmont, the municipality owes the Credit Union over $26 million; NIS $127.4 million; and the GRA, $132 million. He explained that on Friday last, the Council would have made payments of $10.3 million and $10.4 million to the NIS and Credit Union respectively.Meanwhile, Town Clerk Royston King explained that the current financial status of City Hall should be taken into account when looking at the overall picture. He, however, noted that steps are already being put in place to address the issue in a timely fashion.With all of that being said, some Councillors were at a loss as to how monies could be deducted and not paid over to the entities. Councillor, Andrea Marks, said it is a “shame” that workers are being denied their benefits when they go to NIS because of the administration’s ineptitude. Meanwhile, Councillor Bishram Kuppen, called for a written report on the issue and for it to be addressed urgently by the Finance Committee.Finance Committee Chairman, Councillor Oscar Clarke, said the issue has been engaging the attention of the Committee and noted that with the current financial position of the municipality, had it gone ahead and made those payments, then workers would have been waiting longer periods for their wages and salaries.At an Extraordinary Statutory Meeting on November 14, 2017, Clarke had suggested that the municipality consider downsizing the number of staff since salaries account for 68 per cent of the Council’s revenue. That came in light of the cash strapped municipality failing to pay its workers’ their wages and salaries on time leading to protests.The chairman had suggested the Council should begin looking to reduce its 800 staff. He noted that the current financial state will remain if the Council continues to pay 68 per cent of its revenue for staffing.For quite a while now, the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has been cash-strapped, and on multiple occasions, work around the city had to be halted, since the municipality was unable to pay workers. The City’s major garbage contractors – Cevons Waste Disposal and Puran Bros Disposal Service – were forced to withdraw their services after the administration was unable to pay over $300 million owed to them. This resulted in Cevons laying off a number of its employees and Central Government stepping in to pick up the tab. (Lakhram Bhagirat)last_img

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