12 Jan

All workers should be paid equally – Hinds

first_imgGovt’s “differentiated approach” to wagesGovernment’s proposal to pay public servants based on their performance has been placed under scrutiny, as political commentator Dr David Hinds said the deal might do more harm than good.Dr David HindsHe said Government instead of going that route, should pay every worker a living wage.Government has proposed to the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) that a “differentiated approach” (performance-based salary increase) replace the across-the-board percentage increase usually paid to public servants.“I think it is something worth thinking about. I think they are talking about paying the workers based on performance and I think there are some problems with that. I think all workers should be paid a living wage,” Hinds told Guyana Times.The Arizona University professor said that he was very much sceptical about the proposal, which the GPSU said it was going to consider.Government and the Public Service representative late last week entered into bilateral talks, and several proposals and considerations were made by both parties.The performance-based proposal had sprung from a previous pronouncement made by President David Granger, driving home the message that lazy public servants would receive a lazy person’s pay.But Hinds said this proposal was one that should be carefully considered by Government.“If you’re talking about performance, then that should be on top of workers being paid a living wage. I’m very sceptical about the talk of performance, because people come to the workplace with different challenges. You will have the woman who is a single parent, who has five children to deal with in the morning before she comes to work. She comes to the workplace sometimes with tremendous pressure on her head that could affect her performance on the job and if you’re talking about paying her based on performance and not taking into consideration the social situation, I think you are running into a situation,” he explained.He said while a salary increase based on performance was not in itself a bad thing, he still remained sceptical.“One has to be careful that that approach does not lead to a hierarchy at the workplace that could in the long run defeat the purpose. Further, one has to be careful that it is not being used to discriminate against workers who may be at odds with management or too vocal at the workplace.”He said attention should also be placed on the social circumstances of the individual workers, because workers came from different households and they brought to the workplace their different experiences.“There are kinds of social factors that could influence workers’ performances. Workers from stable households may start with an advantage. The system of evaluation, therefore, has to be fair, just and transparent. Perhaps a compromise could be reached where the bulk of the salary increases are given across the board and the remainder is based on performance,” Dr Hinds stated.He also said he was not negating the fact that there were workers who neglected their work, but that has to be addressed. “But I don’t think that we should lump all workers who do not perform.”Day one of talks between the GPSU and Government on public servants’ wages and salaries for 2016 culminated with the Union agreeing to look at the State’s proposal to replace the across-the-board increase.According to a joint statement issued last Wednesday, following discussions, the two parties entered into the agreement.“GPSU agrees to explore the Government’s proposal for the differentiated approach to replace the across-the-board percentage increase,” the release stated.The parties also agreed that the negotiations were conducted in the spirit and obligations of the Memorandum of Agreement between the GPSU and the Public Service Ministry now Department for the avoidance and settlement of disputes.The bargaining unit is to consist of persons employed under the Department of the Public Service (DPS) and Public Service Commission (PSC), including those on contract, the statement detailed. An agreement also was made for a committee to be initiated to make recommendations to the negotiating team on allowances for public servants as soon as possible.The negotiating team is scheduled to meet again today.Meanwhile, while talks were ongoing, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon sought to respond to complaints by the Union that Government omitted allowance negotiations from the discussions. He explained that the Administration preferred a sequential process when engaging in these discussions.Speaking at the post-Cabinet press briefing on Wednesday, the Minister said the letter from the Union detailing the concern was received after the conclusion of the Cabinet meeting.“We have indicated to the Union upon receipt of the letter which voiced their concerns and we have made known to them that we prefer a sequential process when engaging in these negotiations. We would not lump wages and salaries with allowances, our preference is to take it consecutively,” Harmon said.The Minister of State disclosed that the Government wrote the Union explaining that it had no intention of omitting allowances.“We did say that for over 20 years, the allowances hadn’t been touched and, therefore, we could not now, in our first year in Government, say that we are not going to touch allowances, so we did communicate to the Union that wages, salaries and allowances will be dealt with, but we prefer to deal with them one after the other.”The GPSU on Tuesday, in accepting an invitation from the Ministry of the Presidency to commence negations on public servants’ wages and salaries, noted that it wanted discussions on allowances to be included on the agenda.GPSU President Patrick Yarde had said that the invitation omitted negotiations on allowances, which the Union would not stand for.Minister Harmon stated that the Union’s comments were expected.“I must say that I am not surprised that the Union has started off that way, because usually that is how unions operate, but we know that the atmosphere in which these negotiations take place, it is a friendly atmosphere where there is no antagonism between the Public Service Union and the Government’s side and, therefore, both sides will negotiate and negotiate hard,” Harmon remarked.He noted that Government was optimistic about the negotiations.last_img read more

6 Jan

Coutinho completes ‘dream’ Barcelona move

first_img“It’s an honour for me, a great honour, but also a dream to be here,” Coutinho said after posing on the Camp Nou pitch in a Barcelona shirt.“I have my goals; to get here, to be happy, win titles and have fun — I only think about that.”Minutes before the midfielder put pen to paper after a whirlwind few days, the club said a thigh injury would delay his debut until the end of January.The runaway La Liga leaders also claimed that Liverpool had cut their original asking price from 200 million euros, after a long-running transfer saga dating back to the summer window.“Due to a contractual issue and due to Liverpool’s desire, we cannot provide the exact figures, but there has been a very significant reduction (in price),” said Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre.Barca’s swoop for Coutinho is outranked only by Paris Saint-Germain’s stunning world record 222 million-euro signing of Neymar from Barcelona last year, and the Paris club’s capture of French striker Kylian Mbappe in a deal which will be worth 180 million euros when the teenager completes his initial loan deal later this year.Coutinho’s arrival will help Barcelona move on from the humiliation of losing Neymar, and his presence alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez will help take the pressure off another of the club’s stars, 33-year-old midfielder Andres Iniesta.Profile of midfielder Philippe Countinho, who has been transferred from Liverpool to Barcelona for 160 million euros © AFP / Sophie RAMISBut the Brazilian international insisted he would not be replacing Neymar or Iniesta in Ernesto Valverde’s side.“Neymar is a huge player… But we have different characteristics and I’ve come here to find my space,” Coutinho said.“I spoke with him. He told me about the city, the players and told me that this club has an amazing dressing room.“Iniesta, for me, is a genius. What I like most is being in the group and being able to play, the rest is a question for the coach.”Bartomeu said the club had secured “one of the stars of world football” and admitted that Liverpool had put up a fight to keep the player.“It was not easy and other clubs expressed an interest in him, but he was determined to come here,” the president said.Barcelona made three bids for Coutinho last year, but Liverpool stood firm.In the end, the lure of a huge profit on a player they paid just £8.5 million for when he joined from Inter Milan in 2013 proved too strong for the English club.– A good fit –Philippe Coutinho became the world’s third most expensive footballer after securing a long-desired transfer to Barcelona from Liverpool © AFP / Josep LAGOCoach Valverde predicted Coutinho will comfortably fit into his star-studded team, and he could now make his debut at home to Alaves on January 28.Coutinho played with Suarez for 18 months at Liverpool before the Uruguayan made the same move to Spain in 2014.“It’s an honour to be able to play with him (Suarez) again,” Coutinho added.“He’s helped me a lot, wrote to me a lot and explained to me about the club and city… He even visited a few houses for me! He’s a very close friend.”Valverde admitted that it would be a challenge to find a position for Coutinho, with the Spanish title looking a formality and the player cup-tied for the Champions League.Barcelona had tried to sign Philippe Coutinho last summer and his departure is a blow to Liverpool as he had just returned to top form after an injury-hit start to the season © AFP / Josep LAGO“I have seen him play in various positions — on the right, the left, in the middle, on the wings,” said Valverde.He is likely to be used to give Iniesta a rest, keeping the veteran midfielder fresh for the Champions League as Barcelona seek to wrest the trophy back from bitter rivals Real Madrid.Rio-born Coutinho scored 54 goals for Liverpool in all competitions, although he won no silverware during his five-year stay at Anfield.His departure is a blow to Liverpool as he had returned to top form after an injury-hit start to the season, scoring seven goals in the last eight games of 2017.Liverpool have been tipped to quickly reinvest their windfall from the Coutinho sale, with Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez and Monaco’s Thomas Lemar both linked with a switch to Anfield.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Barcelona’s new Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho poses with his new jersey during his official presentation in Barcelona on January 8, 2018 © AFP / LLUIS GENEBarcelona, Spain, Jan 8 – Philippe Coutinho said he is targeting titles at Barcelona after finally completing his “dream” 160 million-euro ($192 million) move from Liverpool on Monday.The Brazilian signed a five-year contract in a ceremony sitting alongside Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, making him the third-most expensive player in history.last_img read more