AFC condemns gov’t stopping the transfer of union dues to GTU

The Alliance For Change (AFC) says it “strongly condemns” the government’s announcement that it will “not act as an agent and deduct union fees from the wages and salaries of teachers who are members of the Guyana Teachers Union,” according to a statement from the party.

The party stated that it considers this a deliberate and vindictive response to the teachers’ strike currently underway. The Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, and the Minister of Labour, Joe Hamilton, say they consider the actions of the GTU to be illegal and politically driven.

The AFC sees this as duplicitous. “This PPP government has conveniently forgotten that the President of the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) has always been a PPP Member of Parliament. The late Komal Chand served for 32 years in the position and now the current President Seepaul Narine is a Member of Parliament.,” the statement says.

“The AFC is alarmed at government’s failure to uphold the right to legitimate protest, the individual’s right to strike and has concluded these actions all signal the Death of Democracy in PPP Guyana. The government is not interested Collective Bargaining and in finding a meaningful solution to the concern raised by teachers through their union over the last four years,” the AFC notes.

According to the AFC, “The Guyana Sugar Worker Union (GAWU) has staged the most strikes in Guyana over the last 40 years, at least 10 strikes per year and that union was never threatened with having their union dues withheld, and the hundreds of GAWU strikes were never deemed political by the PPP.”

The AFC says it continues to “uphold that all workers deserve representation and teachers must earn a livable wage, which Guyana can afford to pay from the $1.6 billion Guyana dollars per day we are currently earning from oil production.”