GTU consulting with teachers following meeting with President

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…to make decision on new offer soon

File photo: General Secretary of the GTU, Coretta McDonald addressing a gathering of teachers

Following a meeting with President David Granger and the Education Ministry (MoE) regarding the current impasse of teachers’ salary increases, the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU) is now soliciting the views of teachers across Guyana before a decision is made on Wednesday.

Coming out of the meeting held at State House, Georgetown, the new offer made to the Union was that of 10 per cent for the year 2016, nothing for the year 2017 and an 8 per cent increase for the year 2018.

Education Minister, Nicolette Henry also indicated to the Union that a debauching payment offer of $350M will be made for the periods 2011-2018 with these payments to be made in December.

If the new offer is accepted by the Union, retroactive 2016 payment increases will be made in the new year.

However, after consideration, the Union revealed that even though 10 per cent is being offered for 2016, interim payments which were received in 2016 and 2017 of 6 and 8 per cent respectively would see the final offer for 2016 being an increase of only 4 to 2 per cent.

Given this fact, GTU is now calling on teacher’s to voice their opinions before Wednesday’s meeting where a decision will be made whether to accept or decline the new offer.

Monday’s meeting came after GTU had mobilised their teachers to be on standby for countrywide strike action following the unilateral appointment of Professor Leyland Lucas by the Labour Department to Chair the arbitration panel.

President David Granger locked in talks with GTU executives – Mark Lyte and Corretta McDonald – and the Education Ministry’s team led by Minister Nicolette Henry at Monday’s meeting

Although the Education Ministry had threatened legal action should teachers return to the streets, the GTU said it is ready to walk the stairs to the courtroom as it is confident that it has not breached any laws, since according to the Union, the teachers’ salary negotiations have not yet reached the arbitration stage.

Moreover, the Opposition, People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had since made several calls on President Granger to intervene.

Heeding these calls, the President sat with the two parties on Tuesday and coming out of said meeting stated that the Union and MoE had met common ground.

“They are not being ignored or anything. We, of course, expect that the Teachers Union consult with its members and the Teachers Union expects that we, the Government, consult with the Ministry of Finance. So we have reached a broad area in which, I would say that there is common ground. I don’t want to call it an agreement, but we have reached common ground and I think the people of Guyana could look forward to an amicable resolution within days. It is a forward-looking agreement” Granger had explained.

Strike action was taken on August 27 which lasted for two weeks after the Education Ministry had refused to honour the Unions request for a 40 per cent increase for teachers across Guyana.

Following failed conciliation talks, strike action was called off after the Ministry had agreed to go to arbitration to have the matter settled.

However, this too remained at a standstill after both parties could not find common ground on the arbitration panel, more so its Chair.

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