The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) has given a mixed reaction to the new proposal being offered by Government on the new teachers wage agreement, saying that talks will continue until they are fully satisfied that teachers get what they deserve.
According to General Secretary of the GTU Coretta McDonald who provided an update on the stalled negotiations between Government and the union, the agreement is yet to be signed.
“As it is right now, the offers that are on the table, some of them have been favorable, some have not been favorable and there are still talks ongoing right now. As you would have noticed, the agreement has not yet been signed, which should say to you that there are still some tallying up to be done”.
McDonald noted that arbitration has not been ruled out and there is no definitive plans as to what would be the next move, only to scrutinize the offer with the aim of getting the best possible deal.
“We are hoping that maybe by the end of this week, we are going to have those little bits and pieces tidied up and the two parties would have a clear understanding of what exactly the document entails so going forward after signatures would have been placed there, nobody would want to cry foul” McDonald explained.
The GTU official said that there were some issues that needed clarification, some of which have not yet been settled. She said once that is over, an agreement could be inked.
A 40 per cent salary increase for public school teachers was initially proposed for the year 2016.
For the year 2017, the Union was hoping to have bargained for a 45 per cent increase, which would then increase to 50 per cent for the remainder of the years indicated in the agreement (2018-2020).
It recently changed its demands and said it was willing to accept a ‘substantial’ payout from the Government.
Following a six-hour long discussion between the two parties, the GTU agreed to a 12 per cent increase for 2016 and eight per cent increase for 2018.
The agreement came more than one month after the GTU called off a nation-wide strike.
Education Minister Nicolette Henry had announced, “What we have proposed essentially is in so far as 2016 is concerned, we finalised at 12 and eight per cent respectively for 2018, we’re at eight per cent and the debunching figure (is) the one that we shared earlier – the $350 million.”