UG heading for a crisis – Unions
The University of Guyana’s unions are accusing the institution’s administration of bringing it to the brink of another crisis since it refuses to engage them on a number of issues that are pertinent to the work their members have been doing.The unions on Monday said they have been attempting to negotiate with the administration on a range of matters since February 2018, adding that the negotiations have gone nowhere. Additionally, the unions noted that they are deeply concerned about the state of the University’s finances, and about the administration’s violations of the University’s statutes and procedures.The unions explained that after they would have taken the issue to the Department of Labour in August of 2018 after negotiations with the administration, but the administration did not agree to the conciliation meeting that was scheduled for October 25, 2018. UG’s administration then informed the Department that the negotiations were not stalled resulting in the unions having to supply the written evidence to the Department of Labour regarding the lack of progress in the negotiations.The unions said they have observed that the administration was failing to provide the University Council with clear and straightforward information about the state of the University’s finances.“This perhaps explains their reluctance to engage in negotiations with the unions about matters which involve money, since they would have to reveal the University’s true financial situation. Moreover, the administration has been trying to prevent the Council from hearing about the ways in which it has been violating the University’s statutes and procedures, and in the process opening up the institution to claims of discrimination.”The University’s annual Business Meeting was held on Thursday, November 8 and the unions’ concerns were not allowed to be part of the agenda. The unions’ previous attempt to have Council discuss them at an extraordinary meeting on October 3 was thwarted when the Vice Chancellor left to deal with an ‘emergency’ and asked that they not be discussed in his absence,” the unions said in a joint statement.The unions said that they have been trying to place their matters before Council since July 2, 2018 and have been consistently denied.“These actions by the administration, therefore, amount to a complete refusal to engage with the workers of the University on matters that are important to them. It is clear that the administration has no regard whatsoever for the persons who keep the University running. The University unions have been very patient about this situation, but the time for patience is at an end,” the unions stated.