The third Berger Elite League, organised by Netball Jamaica, was launched on Wednesday at General Accident Insurance Company with a lottery to select the members of the six teams. Defending champions Clarendon Gaters, runners-up St James Sharpes, St Catherine Racers, Manchester Spurs, St Ann Orchids and Kingston Humming Birds are the six teams. Each team will have 10 players, with all having members of the national senior team. Some of the players to look forward to seeing on court include Nicole Aiken-Pinnock, Paula Thompson, Anna Kay Griffiths, Kadejah Williams, Shantel Slater, Adean Thomas, Stacey Facey and retired Sunshine Girl Simone Forbes, as well as returned Sunshine Girl Kimesha Sterling. The teams will now begin training in preparation for the start of the competition on November 10. An opening ceremony, set for 5:30 p.m. at the National Indoor Sports Centre, will precede the first match. President of Netball Jamaica Dr Paula Daley-Morris was pleased to see the lottery completed and promised high-level competition and exciting matches from the first match. She said that the competition will be used to identify talent for the senior teams going forward. Looking forward to the best of three matches to close the competition in January, she mentioned that they will play exhibition matches such as celebrity vs masters matches to heighten the excitement for the spectators. Daley-Morris says that some of the matches, including the opening match, will be aired live on SportsMax (this is being done for the first time). Daley-Morris indicated that there will be some new but experienced coaches this year including Connie Francis, Oberon Pitterson-Nattie in addition to the other 10-member coaching panel. Dalton Hinds, coach of the defending champion Clarendon Gaters, said that it will be a tall order to defend his championship as all the teams are strong this year. He promised that the team will do its best to be victorious again nevertheless. Casey Perue, marketing manager at Berger Paints Jamaica, said that the company was pleased to be supporting the growth of Jamaica’s most successful team sport for decades and will be around for the long haul. They also plan to stage various promotional activities at the matches to give back to the spectators who support the sport.
GPSU President Patrick Yarde and other union representativesPresident David GrangerGPSU wage/salary debacleThe Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) has not yet begun talks of arbitration, although the option is openly available for it to thrash out the wages and salaries impasse it has with Government, a source close to the GPSU said on Monday.While Government is still zigzagging around the demands and ultimatum put forward by the workers’ Union, the GPSU has not yet taken any steps in the direction of arbitration to have the matter settled by a third party.The two bodies are deadlocked over Government’s final offer of a mere 10 per cent increase for public servants – an offer the GPSU has rejected outright.President David Granger has said that the 10 per cent increase was all Government was able to offer at this time.The GPSU had come over very strongly at the weekend, warning Government that it needed to be guided by the 1999 strike, which lasted for 57 days and led to arbitration over deadlocked salary talks.GPSU President Patrick Yarde, over the weekend, accused Government of horse-trading over its publicly stated position that it would go ahead and make an arbitrary award in the face of the Union’s refusal of the differentiated 1 percent-10 percent salary increase for public servants.The GPSU President had also reminded Government that it was the very parties that make up the Administration, which on the campaign trail, had made very bold promises to pay public servants decent wages/salaries. However, what was done instead was a turnaround and self-serving act of paying themselves hefty salary increases.“This act is unpardonable in this society… for the Government to believe that their decision will be easily forgotten, much more has to be done at the bargaining table for workers not to believe that the increases paid to the Cabinet and MPs were not self-serving,” he said.Yarde, in his public missive over the weekend, said the outcome of any negotiation that was considered just was one where the results were agreed upon by the parties involved.Seeking to draw reference to history and precedence, Yarde stated, “Industrial relations are not about gut feelings… they are guided by a body of knowledge grounded in conventions, time-honoured principles, established rules and laws.”According to Yarde, “representatives of this Government are advised of the importance of arming themselves with an understanding of these tenets or they will continue lurching from one crisis to another on matters pertaining to workers’ welfare… there are precedents in this society which can serve as guides as against the present big stick method being pursued.”He pointed to the fact that in 1999, the Janet Jagan Government had decided that it would respond negatively to the Public Sector unions’ demand for an increase in wages/salaries, on the pretext that the International Monetary Fund’s Structural Adjustment Programme prevented offering a decent increase.He said the Government felt the trade unions were weak, but underestimated the workers who were enraged by their treatment, and mobilised among themselves to proceed on strike action and the union leadership had to comply.The GPSU head recalled that the 1999 strike lasted 57 days and the parties had to resort to arbitration to have the matter resolved.He also referred to the similar salary talks breakdowns in 1979 and 1964 and said, “One would have expected that these experiences would serve as lessons to guide negotiations with the Government and the GPSU ? and the GTU [Guyana Teachers Union].”