M&CC workers’ union very silent

first_imgDear Editor,Something has to be seriously wrong with the two labour unions, also called trade unions in Guyana, that are supposed to represent the collective interests of the workers of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown. These two labour unions, which ought to unite to negotiate with the Council over wages, hours, benefits and other working conditions, are instead very silent, passive, and seemingly almost complicit with the Council, as municipal workers, both current and former, are brutalised on a daily basis for years now.Can you imagine the Council is planning a big anniversary jollification whilst refusing to hand over the workers’ contributions to the National Insurance Scheme, thus compromising the employees’ welfare, and not a murmur is coming from any of the unions? It is no wonder the NIS is encountering fiscal constraints, as the Council has owed them for years and seems to be in no hurry to pay.How could the Council’s ‘Big Enchiladas’ be flying all over the world with little or nothing to show for it, whilst failing to remit the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) deductions to the Guyana Revenue Authority as they are required by law to do. Again, no action by the unions.Apart from industrial action, they can pursue legal options on behalf of the workers. One can only hope that the union leaders would not be seen hobnobbing at the extravagant anniversary dinners and cocktail receptions whilst the workers are unable to file their tax returns.Are the unions not concerned about the nonpayment of the workers’ contributions to their credit unions, preventing them from accessing loans and other benefits?But worst of all is the deafening silence of the unions regarding the nonpayment of gratuities and pensions to municipal employees, who have retired after serving the Council for decades with distinction, whilst the Council’s revenue is frittered away on contractors who do not have to bid for jobs; on a bloated human resource structure; and on expensive vehicles, bodyguards, chauffeurs, and other excesses.Could someone explain the paradox between the terrible conditions the Georgetown Municipality’s workers are faced with and the unions’ declining representation of their members? Have the unions lost their teeth, been silenced, or bought out?Haile Selassie once said that, throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.Sincerely,Shanta Singhlast_img read more

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