GTU boycotts meeting with Labour Department

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General Secretary of the GTU, Coretta McDonald

The Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU) after decrying that the Labour Department is bullying them, on Wednesday boycotted a meeting to continue talks regarding the selection of a Chairman to lead the arbitration panel to settle the impasse between the Union and the Education Ministry.

Chief Education Officer (CEO) , Marcel Hutson revealed that the Union had informed the Labour Department that it will be boycotting the meeting.

This decision came just a day after the Labour Department made a proposal for Professor Leyland Lucas, Dean of the University of Guyana’s (UG) School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (SEBI) to be selected as the Chairman to lead the arbitration panel which was not agreed upon by the Teachers’ Union.

GTU’s General Secretary, Coretta McDonald had explained that the selection process was flawed, given the fact the Curriculum Vitae (CV) of Lucas was not presented to the Union. As such, she had stated that this is a clear indication that the Union’s Executives are being bullied by the Labour Department.

However, Ogle had maintained that the selection and overall process is above board and further denied that Lucas’s private engagement with Labour Minister, Keith Scott which occurred after the meeting was a “secret meeting” as is the claim of the Union.

Just over a week ago, the Ministry of Social Protection said it will be nominating a chairman on behalf of the Ministry of Education (MOE), to head the Arbitration Panel for the ministry and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU).

Teachers assembled on Brickdam during the strike earlier in the month

The Department of Labour said that the two parties have failed to agree on a common chairman, and in keeping with the provisions of the extant Collective Labour Agreement between themselves, the Education Ministry sought the intervention of the Ministry of Social Protection to nominate the chairman.

Moreover, the Social Protection Ministry said it agreed to satisfy the request of the Ministry of Education and has since written to the President of the Teachers’ Union indicating its acceptance of the Ministry of Education’s request.

Prior to that meeting, a meeting held between the two parties to nominate a chairman for the Arbitration Tribunal ended with an impasse, as neither of the parties accepted the names submitted by the other.

The ministry had proposed as its nominees Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, Derrick Cummings, and Human Resource Manager of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Glendon Harris as the possible head of the panel.

The GTU presented former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rashleigh Jackson, Dr Aubrey Armstrong and former Minister of Education, Labour and Regional Development, Jeffrey Thomas as its nominees.

Union President Mark Lyte had argued that the Ministry rejected their nominees without reasons, while they rejected the Ministry’s due to no confidence issues.

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