Teachers will no longer have the luxury of receiving their Whitley Council leave allowances before qualifying for leave, since, according to President of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), Mr Colwyn King, problems of accountability had arisen.
According to King, the union has been informed of the problem and is satisfied that the Ministry of Finance will only be able to pay the teachers in the month that they become eligible for leave.
Teachers become eligible for one month’s Whitley Council leave, which is exclusive of school holidays, after every continuous tour of duty lasting four years. The allowance associated with this type of leave amounts to the teacher’s one-month salary, and does not attract any deductions.
In an earlier interview, King had related that, based on an agreement the union made in 2006 with the Ministry of Education, all teachers were entitled to receive their allowance in the month of April, regardless of which month they qualified for leave. Prior to the agreement, King said, the teachers were paid the allowance in the month of December.
The teachers, for the first time, were able to receive the payment in 2007, King said, adding that the whole process was discontinued this year without the union being informed.
King said that the union learnt of the halt in the April payment when several teachers complained that they were not afforded the much anticipated allowance.
Accordingly, King said, the GTU had engaged the Ministry of Education on the matter, and was optimistic that the matter would have been resolved.
But Minister Baksh, on learning of the grievance, had informed the media that the ministry was in fact not guilty of paying the teachers their allowance late.
The minister disclosed that a request was indeed made for the teachers to be paid in April, even if they become eligible for payment in December, which as a result sees the ministry having to pay the teachers an advance, which the ministry had initially agreed to facilitate.
The minister disclosed that the total number of teachers eligible for the allowance is 1,719, of which 1,370 were paid up to last month.
However, Minister Baksh said that, based on the recognition that teachers are being paid before they become eligible for payment, and due to the fact that the union seems aggrieved over a non-existent issue, the ministry will in fact discontinue the process next year.
King had related that the union would have held an executive meeting in order to decide the way forward in addressing the matter.
In an invited comment yesterday, the union head divulged that the union is prepared to accept the decision of the ministry to pay teachers as they become eligible.
King claimed that the ministry had apologised to the union for the abrupt change in the agreement, and requested that the union desist from highlighting the matter in the media.
It was, however, agreed that those teachers who would have become eligible earlier this year will be paid their allowance before this month’s end.
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