Education Ministry, GTU in deadlock over proposed arbitrators

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File photo: GTU President Mark Lyte speaking to media operatives at the protest in front of the Ministry of the Presidency

At a meeting convened on Friday with the expectation of the Education Ministry and Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) selecting panelists to represent them during arbitration where an increase for teachers demanded by the Union will be agreed upon, both sides turned down the proposed representatives.

The two teams met with the aim of having the panelists to spearhead the discussions selected in order for arbitration to commence.

However, the meeting was abruptly dismissed without any decision being made as the Education Ministry refused the candidates proposed by the Union and likewise, the Union declined the officials from the Ministry.

The two nominees of the Government were Derick Cummings who is the Permanent Secretary for the Telecommunications Ministry, along with Glendon Harris the Human Resources Manager for the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The Union’s proposed candidates were former Home Affairs Minister, Jeffrey Thomas, former Foreign Affairs Minister, Rashleigh Jackson and an experienced arbitrator, Aubrey Armstrong.

GTU’s President, Mark Lyte told media operatives following the meeting, “We were able to agree upon additional terms of reference for the tribunal but unfortunately, we couldn’t agree on the Chairmanship of the tribunal”.

According to Lyte, the candidates put forward by the Union were all local who he deemed professionals and as such he failed to understand the rejection.

“They were all rejected with no reason given for the rejection. However they Ministry put forward two names who are both functional Government Officials and so we have to reject those because we cannot accept nominees from the Government to Chair” Lyte explained.

He noted that a date is yet to be set for the next meeting however members of the Union are expected to meet to direct the way forward.

Before the meeting commenced, Lyte told media operatives that “It is no longer about what we are willing to accept but what we will have to take,” in order to put an end to the teacher’s salary impasse via binding arbitration.

Coming out of the final conciliation meeting on September 6, following nine days strike action taken by teacher’s across Guyana protesting for a 40 per cent salary increase, the decision was taken to go to arbitration to settle disputes.

In arbitration, the Union and Government are expected to put forth evidence to justify their cause and the decision made would be final.

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