Teachers start strike with demonstration in front of President’s office

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…GTU says meeting with Education Ministry on Tuesday unlikely

GTU President Mark Lyte in speaking to media operatives at the protest on Monday

Scores of teachers and members of the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU) on Monday staged a protest in front of the Ministry of the Presidency, calling for salaries to be increased by 40 per cent.

Moreover at the protest, GTU announced that it is highly unlikely that the Union will be able to engage the Education Ministry for pending discussions on the requested salary increases for some 7000 teachers.

This was the position shared by the President of the GTU, Mark Lyte who told media operatives on Monday that due to their General Councils meeting, the Union will most likely be unable to meet with ministry officials.

Lyte further indicated that the soonest date in which they will be available for a meeting is on Friday.

“We will be responding as it relates to our availability. We will have to ask for a reschedule of the meeting, probably by Friday.”

He noted that the Ministry had been scheduling such meetings on days when activities are already planned by the Union. Additionally, the notices are sent out hours before the event.

“If an invitation is given and it clashes with a planned activity that we have, obviously we will not be able to attend. Our General Councils would meet once per term so it’s not something that we can push back.”

GTU has rejected Government’s request for teachers to agree to a debunching payoff of $200 million for 2018 to 2019. Lyte said the Union similarly rejected the $700 million cap that was placed on salary increases which was for 2018 only.

Government also wants the clothing allowance to remain at $8000, a figure which Lyte said was given in 2011. Since 2015, it was related that some teachers have not received their clothing allowance.

Last Friday, a meeting was planned by the Education Ministry so as to engage the Union on discussions for the increase.

However, representatives from the GTU did not attend with Lyte noting that a short notice was given which coincides with other activities which were planned.

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