Lack of progress would likely see teachers returning to streets- GTU on salary impasse

File photo: GTU President Mark Lyte speaking to media operatives at the protest on Monday last in front of the Ministry of the Presidency
The nation’s teachers are likely to resume industrial action if more progress is not made soon at the level of arbitration.
“We are guided by our constitution and the constitution gives our members the authority to dictate what happens. So when all of this recent information would have been said to our members, as well as our Attorney, they will decide what we will do after…so we have not ruled out further strike action”.

This is according to General Secretary of the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU) Coretta McDonald who was at the time providing an update on the next course of action the Union hopes to take if the wage talks are stalled again.

McDonald says that while it is not the first option to take strike action, if they are given no choice, they may have to head down that road again, but this time on a larger scale.

“The GTU is hopeful that the sole issue will be resolved in a matter of a month or two months. We are going to continue to be vigilant, very vocal and we will continue to have our members updated on what is happening” McDonald informed.

Coming out of the last meeting, McDonald said that the GTU had written the Education Ministry indicating that they are still willing to have talks again about naming someone to chair the arbitration panel.

In the meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Protection said it will be nominating a chairman on behalf of the MOE, to head the Arbitration Panel for the ministry and GTU.

The Department of Labour on Monday said 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.

According to the Administration, the union was advised also that it would be informed of future developments on the matter in due course.

The Education Ministry on Friday last rejected the GTU’s proposed arbitrators without giving a reason. The Union also rejected the Ministry’s arbitrators, citing the conflict of having of having sitting government officials as arbitrators, more so within the capacity of Chair.

The two officials which Government proposed were Permanent Secretary of the Telecommunications Ministry, Derrick Cummings and Human Resources Manager of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Glenndon Hariss.

On the other hand, GTU proposed former Home Affairs Minister Jeffrey Thomas; former Foreign Affairs Minister, Rashleigh Jackson and an experienced arbitrator, Aubrey Armstrong.

The GTU two weeks ago called off the nationwide strike after the Government gave in to arbitration.

At that time, some 4000 teachers were on strike after several talks failed between the two parties with regards to a salary increase and other benefits for teachers.


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