Teachers’ salary impasse: Govt nominating arbitration chair

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Officials of the Ministry of Education at the Ministry of Social Protection last week

The Ministry of Social Protection said it will be nominating a chairman on behalf of the Ministry of Education (MOE), to head the Arbitration Panel for the ministry and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU).

According to a DPI release, 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.

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

The meeting between the Ministry of Education and the Guyana Teachers’ Union last Friday to nominate a chairman for the Arbitration Tribunal ended with an impasse, as neither of the parties accepted the names submitted by the other.

The ministry had proposed as its nominees Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, Derrick Cummings, and Human Resource Manager of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Glendon Harris as the possible head of the panel.

The GTU presented as their nominees former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rashleigh Jackson, Dr Aubrey Armstrong and former Minister of Education, Labour and Regional Development, Jeffrey Thomas.

Union President Mark Lyte had argued that the Ministry rejected their nominees without reason, while they rejected the Ministry’s due to no confidence issues.

“They were all rejected with no reason given as to why they were rejected. The Ministry put forward two names which are all present and functioning Government officials. Of course the Union had to reject those because we cannot accept nominees from the Government to chair,” he explained.

According to Lyte, the Union requested a reason for the rejection for its list of nominees only to be told “they can’t give reasons at this point in time.”

The ministry had agreed to go to arbitration following days of industrial action by the Guyana Teachers’ Union at the start of the new school year.

The union has been clamouring for the Education Ministry to honour a proposal for a 40 per cent increase in salary for 2016, forty-five per cent in 2017, fifty per cent in 2018, fifty per cent in 2019 and fifty per cent in 2020 be granted to all categories of teachers/educators.

However, the Education Ministry’s counterproposal had made available $700M to facilitate an increase in salaries for all teachers based on the current salary scale and the previously proposed $200M for debunching for 2018.

In arbitration an independent third-party hears the evidence brought by both sides and makes a final decision.

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