— says chief opposition party has no interest in putting money in workers’ pockets
THE People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) said that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) never had any interest in putting money in the workers’ pockets.
According to the largest party in the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) coalition, the PPP squandered billions of dollars, resulting in the crippling of the Guyana Sugar Corporation and had destroyed a number of manufacturing hubs across the country.
The PNCR was, at the time, responding to the PPP’s criticism of the recent government announcement of the 9 and 8.5 per cent salary increases for public servants.
The PNCR said it will always fight for the betterment of workers, even as the government works to reverse the many labour misfortunes caused by the People’s Progressive Party /Civic (PPP/C).
“We must not forget the PPP’s track record of failure on jobs, salaries and education. Irfaan Ali and PPP are currently trying to whitewash their 23 years in office by making empty promises, telling lies and spreading disinformation,” warned Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Volda Lawrence, at the PNCR’s weekly press briefing on Friday.
She added: “From 2010 to 2015, under the PPP, public servants’ wages grew less than ten per cent. It is clear that the PPP had no interest of putting money in the workers’ pockets. In fact, the PPP kept salaries low and took money out of people’s pockets through higher taxes. It was the PPP that introduced a 16 per cent VAT in 2007.”
President Granger’s announcement of the salary increase came on the heels of an earlier announcement by Minister of Finance Winston Jordan, who stated that the minimum basic salary in the public service increased from $64,200 to $70,000. All of the increases will be tax-free and will be retroactive to January 1, 2019.
“Under the leadership of David Granger we have made significant strides towards achieving this and we will continue to do so in the years ahead. The PNCR, along with the Coalition partners in the APNU+AFC, are building and maintaining critical infrastructure to support growth and drive sustainable job creation,” Lawrence said.
The increase in the minimum wage represents an overall increase of 77 per cent since the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition took office.
“When the Coalition APNU+AFC entered office in May 2015, the public servant minimum wage stood at a paltry $39,540. Prior to our accession to office, we made a commitment to improve the wages and salaries of public servants. We kept that promise from $39,540 under the PPP to $70,000 today under our administration,” Lawrence reminded.
Public Servants have received annual increases in their wages and salaries consistently since 2015. After taking office in 2015, the administration immediately increased the minimum wage by 26.4% from $39,540 to $50,000, benefitting over 30,700 in the public sector at the time.
Lawrence said that this is just the beginning of more things to come.
“Our party – the PNCR – started as a working-class party and we will never give up fighting for the workers and we will never give up fighting for the workers of Guyana,” Lawrence declared.
Lawrence noted that, during its tenure, the PPP made several decisions that crippled critical areas of the economy that provided jobs.
“History has shown that at no point was protecting sugar workers’ jobs a priority for the dishonest PPP. It was the PPP that forced the closure of Diamond, LBI and Wales sugar estates. The PPP destroyed the manufacturing sector in Guyana and along with it, jobs, and opportunities for the small man to earn more. For 23 years the PPP and Irfaan Ali failed Guyanese, driving important industries to collapse putting people’s livelihoods at risk and costing tens of thousands to lose their jobs.”
Aside from the tax-free, retroactive salary, there were also significant increases in a number of allowances for health sector workers, which included Station Allowances being increased by over 260 per cent from $2,800 to $10,000; Hinterland allowances will be increased by between 100 per cent and 600 per cent from between $4000 and $12,000 to $24,000; Risk allowance being increased by nine hundred per cent from $500 to $5000; uniform allowance for health sector workers will be increased from $13,000 and $22,135 to $15,000 and $30,000; and on-call allowance for doctors will also be increased.