President David Granger, on Friday, indicated that the 50% salary increases that were given to Minister’s of the APNU-AFC Administration immediately after the Coalition came into office in 2015 was “prudent” and he has no regrets about the decision.
“Well we have dealt with the issues of the Ministers’ salaries…It was felt prudent at that time to have a one-off review of ministerial salaries so that the Ministers could pay attention to their duties….It is not beneficial to revisit that, [they are] not going to have another salary increase. [I have] no regrets,” he told media operatives today (Friday) during his third press conference in three years.
According to Granger, when his administration came into power, there were a number of public servants who were being paid more than Ministers.
The question was raised on the heels of teachers countrywide opting to strike since Government has refused their demands for a hike in their salaries, saying it cannot afford to meet such demands at this time.
Teachers are seeking increases of 40 per cent under a multi-year arrangement up to 2020.
However, Government is maintaining that it just cannot afford this proposal.
Classes are scheduled to open from Monday, September 3 but it is unclear how many teachers will be present in the classroom.
Most recently, the GTU General Secretary, Coretta McDonald has disclosed that the nationwide strike remains enforced since the third round of conciliation at the Social Protection Ministry’s Labour Department on Thursday did not attain the desired outcome, as both the Education Ministry and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) held steadfast to their positions.
The GTU had earlier expressed no confidence in this labour team since it comprised Government officers who were advocating on the Education Ministry’s behalf.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Nicolette Henry, while speaking to teachers and parents at the Hope Secondary School, East Bank Demerara, said that during the negotiations held between the Ministry of Education and the GTU, the government had agreed to proceed with the seven non-salary agreements, even as the two parties continued the negotiations on salary increases.
Henry has also stated that Government intends to move full steam ahead with its contingency plan which will see striking teachers being substituted with recent Cyril Potter College Education (CPCE) graduates, trainees and retired teachers. However, some parents are of the view that their children could be shortchanged by the government’s decision. (Ramona Luthi)