GTU, Education Ministry to sign agreement next week

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File: President David Granger and his team locked in talks with GTU executives including Mark Lyte and Corretta McDonald, to bring an end to the wages dispute

Although promised for this week, the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) and the Education Ministry have not yet signed the agreement to end the teachers’ salary impasse but they are  more than likely to do so by next week.

GTU’s General Secretary Coretta McDonald made the disclosure during an invited comment on Friday morning. She explained that the agreement “still has a few things to clear up”.

When further questioned, she said that the GTU has to make sure that it signs a document which will benefit all their teachers, as such there are other non-salary issues that are yet to be sorted out.

McDonald had previously said the agreement would have been signed by Wednesday last.

Last Friday, following a six-hour long discussion between the two parties, the GTU agreed to a 12 per cent increase for 2016 and eight per cent increase for 2018.

The agreement came more than one month after the GTU called off a nation-wide strike.

Education Minister Nicolette Henry announced last week, “What we have proposed essentially is in so far as 2016 is concerned, we finalised at 12 and eight per cent respectively for 2018, we’re at eight per cent and the debunching figure (is) the one that we shared earlier – the $350 million.”

Although fewer smiles were seen on the faces of the executives after that meeting, GTU President Mark Lyte told this publication that the Union was satisfied with the amount being given to teachers. “We are walking away a lot happier than initially. We recognise that we were able to broker an agreement with the Ministry of Education that will bring a lot of satisfaction to our members, and I think that was the ultimate objective of this whole process; to ensure that every teacher benefits significantly.”

According to him, the previous offers tabled did not provide benefits for all teachers. In fact, some 80 per cent of teachers, he said, would not have benefited from the Government’s previous offer.

It was explained by him that the increases for teachers will be paid in two tranches. “The increases are going to be paid in two tranches, because you know what teachers receive in 2016 would have an impact on 2017 and 2018, so we are going to have payments being done in December and payments being done in January 2019,” Lyte stated.

A joint statement shared with the media from the two agencies said: “Having considered new information provided, which included salary benefits for all scales of teachers ranging from TS1 to TS19 and special and non-salary benefits, the two parties concluded discussions and have committed to the implementation of the agreement. The three-year 2016 to 2018 agreement will be signed in the new week.

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