The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) and the Education Ministry (MoE) have signed the agreement to increase teachers’ salaries which will see teachers across Guyana receiving a 12 per cent increase for the year 2016 and 8 per cent for 2018.
In a joint statement to the media the two parties said “The new conditions of employment for teachers/teacher educators were mutually agreed upon by both parties”.
According to the agreement seen by this publication, for the year 2016, teachers who earn below $100,000 will benefit from a 12 per cent increase while teachers who earn $100,000 and over will gain an eight per cent increase.
For the year 2017, teachers who earn below $100,000 will get an eight per cent increase and those who earn above this amount will receive a six per cent increase.
Meanwhile for 2018 there will be an across the board eight per cent increase for all teachers.
The signing of the agreement was announced just over an hour after the two parties entered into a meeting which the media was not allowed to be a part of.
This signing brings to the end a two years long impasse between the two parties.
Back in 2016, GTU had requested a negotiable 40 per cent increase for teachers, however this led to a long battle between the Union and the Government.
Following the request, a Task Force consisting of several Government officials was put in place by President David Granger to discuss the matter and then to make recommendations.
However, following the handing over of a report from the Task Force, the Government failed to follow through on the recommendations made.
This led to a lengthy back and force between the Education Ministry and the Union which subsequently led to strike action being taken on August 27, 2018, two weeks before the 2018 new school term was set to commence.
Even though the strike action lasted for a number of days, the MoE still refused to honour the 40 per cent being requested, citing that they could not afford to pay that amount.
However, an emergency meeting was called and strike action was called off after the Ministry had agreed to go to arbitration to have the matter settled.
However, this too remained at a standstill after both parties could not find common ground.
After the President’s intervention which was called for by the Opposition for months, an agreement was met during a six hours long meeting with the Union and MoE.
The Union agreed to a 12 per cent increase for 2016 and eight per cent increase for 2018.
That settlement brought to the end threatened protest action which would have seen teachers across the country downing their tools once again.
General Secretary of the GTU, Coretta McDonald however had exclusively told this online news outlet that she was not pleased with the amount being given to teachers.
She had said following the agreement that she personally believes that the teacher’s “deserved more”.
It was revealed that even though 12 and 8 per cent are being offered for 2016, interim payments which were received in 2016 would see the final offer for that year being an increase of 6 and 2 per cent respectively.
As such, the Union was consulting with their teacher’s before making a decision on whether to accept or decline the offer.
GTU’s President Mark Lyte however stated that the sum was agreed upon by all members.