UG Administration welcomes audit
The Ministry of Education, in a recent letter to The University of Guyana (UG) Council, advised the institution of a request made to the Auditor General’s Office to conduct a special audit of the University’s finances, following a request by the unions at UG. In commenting on this development in the industrial relations at the University, ViceChancellor Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith said, “The Administration welcomes the opportunity to clear the air on the allegations and assertions by the unions and other individuals.” He added, “We have long indicated such, both directly to the UG Unions and in my two recent memoranda to the University community.”
In January 2019, the Administration told the two unions that the institution was not in a position to pay further salary increases for 2018, having paid a four percent salary increase to academic staff and three percent to nonacademic staff, both tax-free, in December 2018. On February 13, 2019, in an update to the members of the UG Community on the industrial climate at Turkeyen and the call by the Unions for a forensic financial audit, the Vice Chancellor noted that the Administration is willing to have its financial position examined by any competent and independent Arbiter.
Following the Unions resumption of picketing at Turkeyen on March 15, Vice-Chancellor Griffith, in a further update to the UG community, reiterated the Administration’s willingness to have an audit done by an independent Arbiter. He also indicated that the Administration had decided to turn the dispute over to the Labour Department for conciliation. The current impasse follows the initiative by Pro-Chancellor Major Gen. (Ret.) Joseph Singh to facilitate some “Listening Sessions” with the Unions and the Administration by a three-member panel of the University Council, and the Vice-Chancellor’s March 8 invitation to meet with the Unions to resume the negotiations proved futile.
The UG Administration holds the view that talks with the unions should not focus exclusively on salaries; that performance and a Collective Bargaining Agreement also should be discussed. Meanwhile, the Administration is awaiting a response from the unions to its weeks-old request for several documents as part of efforts to be consistent in the pursuit of accountability and transparency. The documents sought include their Articles of Association, Certificates of Recognition, Statements of Income and Expenditure for recent years, and recent Annual Returns and audited statements.
UG IN BRIEF
With a current enrollment of some 8,000 students, The University of Guyana (UG) has graduated more than 20,000 students who have gone on to successful careers locally, regionally and internationally. The University is also a major contributor to the national economy and to business and industry. Established in 1963 on a part-time basis with shared space at Queens College, UG moved to its own campus at Turkeyen in 1970 and expanded in 2000 with the addition of the Tain Campus. It now offers more than 120 Under-graduate and Post-graduate Programmes including the Natural Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Urban Planning and Management, Tourism Studies, Education, Creative Arts, Economics, Law, Medicine, Optometry and Nursing. Several online programmes are available and The UG also offers extra-mural classes at four locations through its Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE). The UG also offers the opportunity for student engagement in debating, sports, and cultural, religious and professional activities
- The University of Guyana