Message from the Guyana Public Service Union to mark International Women’s Day, 2018.
The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) wishes to take the opportunity on the occasion of International Women’s Day to salute the women of Guyana in all of their various roles including those of mothers, wives, home makers, professionals, public servants and ordinary workers. In these various capacities we salute our womenfolk and their respective contributions to the qualitative development of our country.
The occasion of International Women’s Week serves to remind us of the need to honor our women and to recognize and meaningfully acknowledge without prejudice their entitlement to the equality of which they are altogether deserving. In this context it would be hypocritical to pretend that as a society we have consistently afforded the women of our country their due as equals. Indeed, the fact that the issue of equality rights and equal respect for women continually arise on occasions such as this is, in itself, an acknowledgement of the fact that we continue to fall well short in what is our obligation.
While there is glaring evidence that violence against women continues to plague our society, there is no corresponding effort of a comparable movement beyond the rhetorical condemnation of the practice. We must to institute such measures that are necessary to curb this practice if not put an end to it.
Truth be told, it remains our view that Guyana continues to be a society in which strong gender prejudices persist and that we are still leagues away from eradicating that prejudice.
Women’s rights cannot simply be enshrined in the law. They must be etched in the collective heart of our society as a whole and as well must be underpinned by the belief that our women are the very foundation of the existence of our society.
While this scourge of gender prejudice persists the national response need to enhance the requisite robustness to confront and eliminate the bias.
The apparent tendency of lip service has to change,
In other respects women are vulnerable. Sexual harassment persists at several levels including, worryingly at workplaces. Everywhere there is evidence of the enduring objectification.
In some of the most exalted male circles women are seen as only meriting limited respect and privileges and menial jobs. A corollary to this and leaving aside the persistent threat of workplace harassment there is evidence refusal of some employers to embrace the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.
That has to end.
Close to the heart of the GPSU at this time is the protracted and unconscionable refusal on the part of the Government of Guyana to make good its obligation to address to finality the issue of the remuneration of our Sweeper/Cleaners whose persistent poverty and enduring denial of their right under the law to a living wage amounts to a national embarrassment, no less.
Here I am acknowledging Minister Amna Ally’s bold efforts to have this long and unfair situation corrected. I had the privilege of experiencing the passion she felt for these workers’ plight in her office last year when she informed me that she was putting up a comprehensive cabinet paper to address their concerns.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day the GPSU calls on the Government of Guyana to manifestly demonstrate its practical commitment to the rights and entitlements of our women by immediately affording ALL Sweeper/Cleaners the living wage and other related conditions of service they rightly deserve, that they desperately need and unequivocally merit.
Elsewhere in the Public Service there are various categories of women workers, not least nurses and doctors, whose conditions of service are deserving of remedial attention. Here again, the opportunity presents itself for government to demonstrate its commitment to the rights of women in a manner that transcends rhetoric.
We renew our call to Government to give higher priority to the process of significantly upgrading what in many instances are the deplorable conditions of work in institutions including hospitals where women serve. We also call on the government to accelerate the provision of safe and well equipped child care centres providing mothers with the comfort level and confidence to leave their children to pursue all forms of personal and professional development beneficial to them, their family and nation building.
As we commemorate International Women’s Day this year we must, as a country, seriously dedicate our energies to a quantum shift from the lip service, patronage and tokenism that is so often in evidence on occasions such as this.
During my tenure as president we have achieved a 50:50 ratio of brothers and sisters as members of the Executive Council of the Union; we have had the first two female substantive General Secretaries and the first female elected Vice President, the first woman to be appointed to the Public Service Appellate Tribunal, Mrs. Abiola Wong-Inniss as well as women appointed for nine years as Commissioners of the Public Service Commission. The majority union representatives on government boards are women. Our women have also attended the United Nations forum on the Commission of Women There is more that I can share with you with regard to our women’s participation in national, regional and international fora.
I call on you, participants to reenergize the women’s arm of the Union, and to be more involved and active in union activities, your Union need your support.
Sisters, I am confident that you would have a very enlightened experience today.
We must let our actions shout far louder than what, so often, are our empty words.
Long live the Guyana Public Service Union. Long live the women of Guyana. Long live the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
March 8, 2018
Guyana Public Service UnionNew Year’s Message from the President, Mr. Patrick Yarde for 2018.Happy New YearMay the year 2018 bring all of Guyana the very best in every meaningful way. May our country climb to greater heights and may our people continue to prosper. I extend these sentiments on my own behalf and on behalf of the Executive Council of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU). Most deservingly, may ourmembers enjoy an uplifting New Year.We in the GPSU have every reason to look forward to the New Year. The year that is now behind us was eventful in more ways than one and suffice to say, that we look forward to 2018 being a better year for our members.Betterment, of course, has to be derived, in the first instance, from our relationship with our members’ employer, the Government of Guyana. We have done our own painstaking evaluation of that relationship and the conclusion that we reached is that much is left to be desired.In various ways and on various occasions since the accession of the APNU-AFC administration to office, the GPSU had alluded to its desire for a qualitative change in its relationship with government. I say,unhesitatingly that our wish still remains to be fulfilled. We had hoped, perhaps above all else, that the winds of change would bring with them a relationship grounded in principle, in trust and in an enhanced official recognition of the critical importance of our members, the nation’s public servants.Our biggest, bettersweet disappointment has to do with what we believe to be the volte face executed by the APNU-AFC administration with regard to its undertaking whilst in opposition to focus frontally on a number of burning issues impacting both on the livelihoods and conducive work environment to augmentthe performance of public servants. Here, it is apposite to recall some of those issues including:1. The reinstatement of the agency fees agreement2. The issuing of outstanding certifications of recognition3. The finalization of the Recognition Agreement to represent employees of the Guyana Revenue Authority.4. The restoration of Collective Bargaining5. Remuneration of fair and realistic allowances6. Debunching and payment of in scale increments7. The full and meaningful implementation of the Cabinet decision for Sweeper/Cleaners AND
28. The return of GPSU real estate seized by the PPP/C Administration and the administration‘s tangible and meaningful support for the full and effective operation of the GPSU Sports Complex which exists for the recreation of its members and adjourning communities.The neglect of these issues, to this very date, we say unapologetically, is reflective of an unacceptable absence of appreciation for the sacrifice and the attendant suffering which Public Servants continue to endure in the hope of ‘a better day.’The GPSU had hoped, as well, that the APNU-AFC administration would set its face against the unwanted intervention by the ‘dead hand’ of political intervention in the workings of the Public Service of our country.That, decidedly, has not been the case. Recently, elements of the incumbent administration deemed it appropriate to ‘engineer’ the return to the Public Service of a functionary who, not a hundred years ago, was removed from government employ for valid disciplinary reasons. Additionally, there have been severalacts in conflict with the legitimate decisions of constitutional bodies. We condemn these acts of political interference and the institutions responsible for their administration.No one can justifiably deny the protracted struggles of our members against the backdrop of numerous challenges. At this time we reflect on those commitments offered by the present political administration during its tenure in opposition to place the welfare and well-being of Public Servants much higher ongovernment’s agenda. We say, regrettably, but without fear of contradiction, that there exists no persuasive evidence that it has kept its word. Politicians on all sides of the political divide continue to evince what, in our view, is an absence of sufficient regard for the value of the Public Servant. Here, it is not only aquestion of their labour being decidedly undervalued but also the value of their capabilities being cast aside.It remains the position of the GPSU that the quality of its relationship with government can be measured only in terms of the extent to which the administration holding office demonstrates a strong and transparentmindfulness for the interests of our members. In this regard the GPSU wishes to restate its continued willingness to work with the incumbent administration towards that end though we wish to make clear our determination to remain unrelenting and uncompromising in our quest to compel the government to honorits promises and its obligations.As we look towards this new year let us not forget, brothers and sisters, but remember, that there is strength in numbers, as we work together for the betterment of all.In closing I would like to emphasize my sincere wishes for betterment, good health, safety and prosperity, to you, my fellow workers and your families for 2018.Long live the Cooperave Republic of Guyana.Long live the Guyana Public Service Union.December 31, 2017.
The GPSU wishes to note that the milestones of the L.F.S. Burnham era as President survive and remain dominant up to this day and have been critical to the strengthening of its members’ rights and to the enhancement of the union’s capacity to provide effective representation.
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The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) came into being on the 8th of June,1923, when 110 civil servants met in St. Andrew’s Hall in Georgetown and unanimously passed a resolution approving of an approach being made to the Governor to sanction the formation of the British Guiana Civil Service Association. The Governor was approached and he readily accorded his sanction to it\’s formation. It was formerly registered No.55 as a Trade Union on the 5th of November, 1948.
This organization was first named as the British Guyana Civil Service Association (B.G.C.S.A). It’s Industrial Relations activities began during an era when the country was administered by a Colonial Administration based in Great Britain and served by a Governor and other Functionaries here.
In 1972, the name was changed from Civil Service Association to the Public Service Association. In 1975, there was a merger with the Medical Employees Union (M.E.U), and the name of the Association was changed from the Public Service Association to the Guyana Public Service Union, (G.P.S.U).
Also, in 1975, The Guyana Public Service Union established it’s Branch system, with the Ministry of Health, Headquarters being the first branch to be formed. Today the Union has over eighty (80) branches established within the various Ministry/Department/ Region. The membership moved from 200 to approximately 10,000.
The year 1975, has been recorded in the history of the Union has a very eventful year. It is also the year when the Union introduced a Medical Assistance Scheme for the benefit of it’s Members.
The Guyana Public Service Union (G.P.S.U) has grown to be a very “Democratic” and “Dynamic” organization. Unlike in the early years, policy decisions are made with the involvement of the Membership at all levels within the Union i.e. Branches, Executive Council, General Council and Delegates Conference.
GUYANA PUBLIC SERVICE UNION (GPSU)- ELECTION OF OFFICE BEARERS (2017-2021)
The Injunction that was granted to prevent the Guyana Public Service Union from proceeding with elections for Office Bearers for the Executive Council by the Honourable Mr. Justice Nareshwar Harnanan on Thursday 20th April, 2017 in an application by Mr. Gregory Gaspar of the Guyana Geology & Mines Commission has been discharged today Tuesday 25th April, 2017. Mr. Gaspar was represented by Attorney at Law Mr. Nigel Hughes.
The Judge after hearing submissions by the Union’s Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Roysdale Forde and relying on evidence adduced by the Union which revealed that the allegations by Mr. Gaspar of the Union’s non-compliance with the Union’s rules and its obligations under the Trade Unionâ€™s Act were erroneous and misconceived.
The Union’s Attorney-at-Law’s submissions included evidence that Annual Returns to the Registrar of Trade Unions which had Income and Expenditure Statements and Balance Sheets for the entire period up to 31st December 2016. Also presented was a statement from the Auditor General confirming that the Audit of the Union’s accounts up to 2005 and that Income and Expenditure Statements and Balance Sheets up to 31st December 2016 were in his possession.
Both Mr. Gregory Gaspar and his instigator Mr. Jermain Hermanstyne were fully aware of these facts but deliberately set out to publicly misrepresent them for personal and petty reasons. They also advocated that their backward views should supersede rights of members in accordance with the rules of the Union. Investigations would reveal that both Mr. Gasper and Mr. Hermanstyne were amongst the poorest performers and achievers as members in the Guyana Public Service Union.
The Elections Officer has been advised that the Union is now free to proceed with the Elections. The Elections Officer and supporting personnel are working assiduously to hold the Elections on Thursday 27th April, 2017. The General Secretary has issued a Circular calling on all members that notwithstanding the obvious inconvenience caused to make every effort to discharge their civic responsibilities towards the Union and meaningfully participate in the upcoming Elections.
160 Regent & Shive Chanderpaul Drive
25th April, 2017.