Teachers pay dispute: Education Ministry asks for conciliation to resolve matter

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The Labour Department of the Social Protection Ministry has approved the Education Ministry’s request for conciliation in the matter involving the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and its intention to call a nationwide strike on August 27 over the impasse relating to salaries and benefits for teachers.

GTU President, Mark Lyte

The Education Ministry’s request was made on Thursday and was accepted. As such, the Labour Minister and other officials will try to resolve the issues in a meeting at the Labour Department’s Board Room today (Friday) at 14:00h between the Guyana Teachers’ Union and the Education Ministry.

According to a press statement, the Education Ministry’s application was in keeping with the provisions of an extant Collective Labour Agreement. However, it is unclear whether or not GTU will present itself at this latest meeting, given that talks broke down at the two previous meetings. Contacted last Thursday evening, GTU President Mark Lyte indicated that the GTU might not be attending this afternoon’s meeting.

“We are not going through any talks, because as far as we are concerned, conciliation has taken place already; the Ministry [of Labour’s] presence was there in the last two meetings,” he stressed.

Additionally, Lyte remarked that from his standpoint, he wasn’t even formally invited to the meeting.

INews understands that, under conciliation, Minister with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott, will attempt to act as a mediator to bring resolution to the matter.

Conciliation is reportedly different from arbitration in that an arbitrator would be a neutral person appointed by the minister, rather than the minister himself trying to solve the impasse.

In the meanwhile, GTU has been mobilising teachers across various locations, including Georgetown, Bartica, Linden, Berbice and Essequibo.

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