UG Administration and senior staff union agree on salary increases
The University of Guyana Administration and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) reached an agreement on salary increases of six percent for UA staff for 2017, after months of negotiations. Although the Administration and the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) had inked their agreement for a raise of 8% for UB staff earlier, the UGWU also needed to be part of the settlement, as it also represents some UA workers.
In addition to the Memorandum of Agreement, which covers the salary increase and stresses the importance of performance, the officials signed a Letter of Understanding which addresses the issues of timely grade submission and the design and implementation of a new performance management system. The signing of the two documents occurred on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Vice- Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith represented the University Administration, Dr Jewel Thomas, President of the UGSSA, signed on behalf of her union, and Mr Bruce Haynes, president of UGWU, signed on behalf of that body. The event took place at the Ministry of Social Protection, and was witnessed by Ms Karen Van Sluytman, Acting Chief Labour Officer. Also in attendance was Mr Lincoln Lewis of the Guyana Trades Union Congress, who was instrumental in securing the settlement.
The Agreement and the Letter pave the way forward as it relates to overall performance of all staff members, particularly the submission of grades by the teaching staff. The timely submission of grades has been a perennial issue at UG, and the Administration has sought the support of the Union to remind its members of their obligations to our students. The Administration acknowledges the tremendous work done by most staff members and is committed to ensuring improved service delivery by all staff. Thus, the deadline for submission of all outstanding grades has been extended to December 1, 2017. Staff who will not have met their obligations by then will not receive salary increases.
The stage is now set for some seven hundred (700) full-time and part-time academic and non-academic staff at the UA Level to receive an increase of six (6) percent across-the-board in their December salaries, as well as payments retroactive to January 1, 2017. As with the agreement signed on November 8, 2017 with the UGWU, the offer from the Administration was made in the context of what is affordable, in keeping with the mandate from the University Council, and it stresses the importance of performance.
Vice-Chancellor Griffith noted, “Today’s signing also sets the stage for a new normal at the university, where performance is just as important as payment, and where accountability and affordability are key to enhancing educational entrepreneurship.” Further, he reiterated that, “as regards affordability, these increases are not our only financial obligations. We still have an average of 4.5 percent merit award to
From left: Mr Bruce Haynes, President of UGWU; Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith; and Dr Jewel Thomas, President of the UGSSA
fund, as well as allowances for traveling, entertainment, and academic materials. We also have to cater for study leave (salary and housing for three months), sabbatical leave (salary and housing for 12 months), leave passage, and responsibility allowances for Coordinators, Heads, and Deans. I am delighted that we are able to close this chapter and begin paying the increases”.
UG IN BRIEF
With a current enrollment of some 8,000 students, The University of Guyana (UG) has graduated more than 20,000 students who have gone on to successful careers locally, regionally and internationally. The University is also a major contributor to the national economy and to business and industry. Established in 1963 on a part-time basis with shared space at Queens College, UG moved to its own campus at Turkeyen in 1970 and expanded in 2000 with the addition of the Tain Campus. It now offers more than 60 Under- graduate and Post-graduate Programmes including the Natural Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Urban Planning and Management, Tourism Studies, Education, Creative Arts, Economics, Law, Medicine, Optometry and Nursing. Several online programmes are available and The UG also offers extra-mural classes at four locations through its Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE). The UG also offers the opportunity for student engagement in debating, sports, and cultural, religious and professional activities.
Public Relations Division
November 21, 2017
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UG, unions stalemate block 'back-pay' for lecturers; non-academic staff to get pay-out
Support staff of the University of Guyana (UG) are set to receive a retroactive salary increase, but lecturers will have to wait for their ‘back-pay’ as the unions continue to reject efforts by the administration to include performance as a condition.
“The administration’s arbitrary insistence on a performance element that applied to only one group of persons (lecturers) resulted in all staff being denied their retroactive payment. The TUC successfully persuaded the administration to let UB staff receive their increase,” the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU) and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) said in a statement.
The non-academic staff would be paid an eight percent increase retroactive to January, 2017, in keeping with an agreement that was signed at the Labour Department of the Ministry of Social Protection in the presence of Deputy Chief Labour Officer, Karen Van Sluytman.
The unions said academic staff, including those who have been exemplary in their performance, “would have to continue to be held hostage for a while longer while the administration insists on the inclusion of a clause” that includes performance as a prerequisite for getting the salary increase.
The academic staff are due to be paid a six percent hike in wages and salaries dating back to the beginning of this year.
According to the UGWU and UGSSA, professionals with experience in industrial relations have advised them that such a provision “has no place in a wages and salaries agreement”.
UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith said after the signalled after the signing of the pay-hike agreement that he would continue to insist on performance. ” “I am delighted that we are able to close this chapter and begin paying the increases. This agreement also sets the stage for a new normal at the university, where performance is just as important as payment, and where accountability and affordability are key to enhancing entrepreneurship,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by UG.
Griffith has previously told Demerara Waves Online News that lecturers would first have to submit all outstanding grades before receiving their salary increases.
While the unions said they were not opposed to the timely submission of grades, lecturers should not be penalised because the administration has a responsibility also to ensure that performance is up to mark instead of merely shifting that responsibility to the unions. “It already lies within the administration’s power to deal with any cases of un-submitted grades,” the unions said.
The Vice Chancellor further stated that wages and salaries were not the only staff-related expenditure that the administration has to cater for. “In terms of affordability, these increases are not our only financial obligations. We still have an average of 4.5 percent merit award to fund, as well as allowances for traveling, entertainment, uniforms, and academic materials. We also have to worry about study leave (salary and housing for three months), sabbatical leave (salary and housing for 12 months), leave passage, and duty allowances for Coordinators, Heads, and Deans”, he said.
Article adapted from: http://demerarawaves.com/2017/11/08/ug-unions-stalemate-block-back-pay-for-lecturers-non-academic-staff-to-get-pay-out/
- The University of Guyana