Wednesday, 22 May 2013
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|Union leads protest over M&CC unaccountability for deductions|
|Monday, 07 May 2012 21:33|
EMPLOYEES of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) who are represented by the Guyana Local Government Officers Union (GLGOU) staged a protest yesterday over a four percent deduction from their April month salaries.
The money is a lawful deposit which is kept by the Council in event any special circumstance should occur, and workers do not mind paying the amount. However, the issue arose when it was discovered that the Administration could not properly account for the monies deducted.
In fact, the GLGOU has not properly been informed about this system, recently put in place, and has claimed that proper mechanisms should have been established to ensure accountability before it came into being.
The GLGOU does not want this money to end up like the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions, which had been taken out of council workers’ pay but had not been remitted to the respective entities.
According to a senior officer of the council, who preferred anonymity, those sums should be deposited in a government bank account and a system should be put in place for each employee to know that the cash has been remitted there.
At the end of a worker’s tenure with the council, all unremitted deductions are expected to be returned to the individual.
It is reported that several attempts were made by the GLGOU to meet with Town Clerk Yonnette Pluck on the issue, but all failed, prompting the union’s action yesterday.
According to the source, the arrangement to deduct had been in place years ago, but had to be stopped because of the same accountability controversy.
GLGOU President Dale Beresford, who protested with the other members, told the media that they were there to express their disgust at the total lack of respect being shown by the Administration.
“The Administration has not shown us any confidence that they are able to manage this programme,” he said, adding that the union could not be provided with any of the details they had requested from Pluck.
Beresford said the deductions made last month -- $1.6M -- would amount to approximately $20M annually and $200M in ten years.
The Guyana Chronicle understands that Pluck, along with City Treasurer Andrew Meredith and other officers, had called a meeting with the GLGOU to avoid the protesting, but could not offer acceptable explanations in respect to the issue.
All the officers said was that they were in discussion with the bank at present, and would get back to the union, Beresford disclosed.
He said that should City Hall officers not provide the information requested in a timely fashion, GLGOU would be moving to the court for a resolution.
Meanwhile, GLGOU Vice-President Cathy Fowler told this newspaper that the workers were very displeased over the money that had been taken out of their pay. It is hurting them, because they have so many other obligations to meet.
“We’re not pleased, because better mechanisms were to be in place before this money (was) deducted. If it didn’t work in the past, how will it (work) now? It’s telling us that, somewhere along the line, somebody is trying to throw sand in our eyes,” she said.
According to Fowler, neither Pluck nor any of the other officers had come forward to offer any proper explanation.
“We had a meeting with them, and they have not given us anything solid; no fruitful explanation. She (Pluck) just asked for some time to get back to us,” Fowler said.
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