─ meeting rescheduled to Tuesday, August 28

The conciliatory meeting which was scheduled by the Labour Department of the Ministry of Social Protection between the Ministry of Education and the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU) was today rescheduled for another date due to the absence of the Teacher’s Union.

Statements from both the Ministry of Social Protection’s Labour Department and the Ministry of Education this afternoon said that the GTU did not attend the conciliation meeting which was scheduled for 14:00hrs today.

However, the absence of the union did not prevent the meeting from convening.

According to the release, the Ministry of Education was present, ready and prepared to participate and did participate in the process, but due to the absence of the Union, the meeting was adjourned to14:00hrs on August 28, 2018.

Toward that end, a letter was dispatched by the Conciliator (Labour Department) to the President of the GTU, informing the Union of the new date.

The Ministry of Education, acting in conformity with the provisions of an existing Collective Labour Agreement, applied for mediatory services in the current Salaries and Benefits negotiations between itself and the union.

The GTU has remained adamant that the government concede to its proposal of an across-the-board increase in salary of forty per cent (40%) for 2016, forty-five per cent in (2017), fifty per cent (50%) in 2018, fifty per cent (50%) in 2019 and fifty per cent (50%) in 2020 be granted to all categories of teachers/teacher educators for the years 2016-2020. The union has stated that anything less would see teachers taking strike actions from the start of the September term.

However, the government has deemed the GTU’s demands as unreasonable, pointing out that consideration should be given to the economic status of the country and has maintained that government can only pay what it can afford. The government’s counterproposal is to make available a ballpark of $700Million for teachers’ salary increases and $200Million for de-bunching for 2018. The government has also suggested that a specialist is contracted to work with the GTU (if agreed) to determine the percentage of increase per category.

During the engagements, Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, who has led the government side in the talks, remained resolute that the government is committed to teachers and the education sector.

“I want to say, teachers, that the Government of Guyana continues to care for you and we will ensure that as far as possible you get what we can afford. We promised a good life for all and we will work on what we have within our fiscal space to ensure the best we can do,” the Education Minister had assured.