GTU willing to call off strike provided that salary impasse arbitrated

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File photo: (L) Leslyn Collins, GTU’s First Vice President; Coretta McDonald, General Secretary; Mark Lyte, President; Lancelot Baptiste, Field Officer

The Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU) is willing to have the countrywide strikes by teachers halted, if Government agrees to their terms and conditions for some sort of arbitration to be met.

“We are willing to call the strike off tonight if they agree to our terms,” GTU General Secretary, Coretta McDonald told members of the media.

The GTU in its brief to the Labour Department, indicated that to arrive at a conclusive arrangement, they are proposing that the strike be called off provided that “there shall be no victimization by either party”, “there shall be no loss of pay and seniority”, and “the extant issues be referred to an arbitration panel.”

They further highlighted that the Union is willing to commit to a stable industrial relations climate and wishes for normalcy to be returned.

As such, they proposed that the “employer and the Labour Department consider referring this impasse to an arbitration panel comprising three persons, viz, i) a chairman agreed to by the employer and Union [and] ii) the GTU should nominate one person to the panel and the Ministry of Education, the other.”

The union is seeking agreements of a 40 per cent increase in teachers’ salaries on each year from 2016 to 2020 but Government stresses that this request is just not feasible for the over 10,000 teachers in the system.

Education Minister and Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson at a recent meeting with parents

The Education Ministry has been hosting several meetings urging parents to send their children out to school when classes start next Monday.

The ministry says striking teachers will be substituted by CPCE trainees, recent graduates and retired teachers.

Some parents however, fear that their children could be shortchanged by this arrangement.

There are 998 schools across the country, and of the 10,000 teachers in the system, more than 7000 are members of the GTU.

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