(NEWS ROOM) — The University of Guyana’s Senior Staff Association and its Workers’ Union staged a protest in front the Office of the Vice Chancellor Tuesday after the administration of the Campus refused to give them a salary increase.
As such, the Unions are calling for a forensic financial audit given the fact that the University has received financial donations from various entities and there is no statement to the UG Council to show how the funds were spent.
The protest Tuesday is in response to the administration’s declaration that the University has a deficit for 2018 and there is no more money to offer staff.
The administration imposed a 3% and 4% increase on the University’s staff in November 2018 which the Unions protested.
Negotiations for 2018 finally began on January 8, 2019, and ended on February 1st with the administration’s letter that stated its refusal to offer any more to staff, the Unions noted.
As such, Jewel Thomas, President of UG’s Senior Staff Association said an intervention into UG’s finances is needed to see why there is a deficit.
Thomas, who also sits on the UG’s council, said there has been no trace of the finances how they are being spent since 2016.
“We want an assessment by qualified persons to look into the university’s finances”, Thomas said.
She further noted, “we spent two years talking to the administration trying to get these concerns addressed; so we have done enough talking, we’d like to see action and we would like to see people responding to the concerns we have raised.”
A lecturer at the university, Dr. Melissa Ifill spoke about the deplorable conditions students and staff have to endure as she referenced the dirty corridors, bathrooms and classrooms.
“Nothing has changed in a few years with the exception of the construction with a few buildings, which I believe have been constructed due to Ministry of Education allocating some resources to building works. Of course, the Vice-Chancellery, which we are standing directly in front of, this has been refurbished,” Dr. Ifill said.
When approached by the media after the peaceful protest, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith said he met with the union in December last year to discuss their concerns and if there is no satisfactory outcome, then they will go to conciliation as the next level.
“In violation of that agreement the union started protesting. We have formally notified the Ministry of Social Protection, Department of Labour and we will be following their guidance.”