“I would urge the Government to treat with the concerns of teachers as an urgent issue and don’t drag them along in a never-ending issue of negotiations.”
These were the words of Opposition Leader and General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C) Dr Bharrat Jagdeo who, in his most recent weekly press conference, said that the move by Government to now hire a consultant to sort the issues related to salary increases was another ploy to stall for time.
The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), after meeting for nearly three hours with Government and labour officials, said on Thursday that since the situation remained unchanged, their plans remain intact, meaning that an imminent nationwide strike will go ahead as planned.
Jagdeo, pointed out that “for too long”, the nation’s teachers have been dragged out with the hope that their demands would be addressed.
“It seems as though the Government never had any anything to accede on those demands…when we asked the minister what was happening with the report of the task force, and when the Government intends to pursue the recommendations, she practically gave zero answer,” he stressed.
Jagdeo said, too, that when Government has matters of similar nature, it should include in the delegations persons who have the authority to makes commitments of the Government.
“Another meeting with the minister, who always claims that ‘I can’t make any final determinations as to what we were hoping,’ is a waste of time,” Jagdeo opined.
Union President Mark Lyte said on Thursday that the August 27 countrywide strike will go ahead as planned.
Immediately following the Union’s announcement outside the Education Ministry on Brickdam, Georgetown, subject Minister, Nicolette Henry held an emergency press conference where she signalled that Government is already considering alternative measures to deal with the fallout from any strike action.
Meanwhile, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), which forms part of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Government, on Friday said it was perturbed at the Administration for its inability to reach consensus with the GTU on wage increases.
The party noted that, from a political standpoint, it feels that the Government is committing “political suicide by picking a fight with teachers, most of whom voted for the Coalition. It is bad politics to alienate your supporters on a matter that could be easily solved.”
The GTU envisions that 90 per cent of teachers in the public schools were ready to support their Union’s move to strike.