May 17, 2016 News
While the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) has lauded Government for taking some action towards addressing protracted concerns of public school teachers, President of the Union, Mark Lyte, is adamant that in some instances, the process is slothful.
Lyte, speaking at a recent GTU press conference, informed the media that while Government has agreed to pay debunching monies to teachers, which represented part of a multi-year agreement with the previous administration, the payments are yet to materialise.
This is in spite of the fact that the GTU is in receipt of formal correspondence that the debunching money will be paid.
“We have received a correspondence from the Minister of Education (Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine) stating that teachers will be paid one per cent (of each month’s salary) commencing 2011 to 2015 as agreed in the multi-year agreement,” said Lyte.
The letter in question, according to Lyte, was also forwarded by the Education Minister to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, on April 22, 2016.
“We are anxiously awaiting the disbursement of this one per cent payment as agreed upon,” said Lyte.
According to him, teachers have already waited 10 years to receive the debunching money. “The Union is happy that we have been able to get a commitment from the Minister of Education…our teachers across Guyana need to be informed that we are still awaiting this disbursement,” said Lyte.
According to Lyte, a teacher who earned $100,000 in 2011 will be entitled to $12,000 at the end of the year. However, teachers who received a promotion during the five year-period would be eligible for an augmented amount. “All of that would have been taken into consideration to apply this one per cent,” the GTU President explained.
He asserted that the payable percentage would only be offered to teachers who were active during, or at least part of, the agreed upon period.
“Even if a teacher retired in 2012, that teacher will be eligible for a portion of the debunching money; the same one per cent of their monthly salary,” Lyte asserted.
Based on the agreement with the Ministry, the debunching money should be payable before the end of this school term. Lyte is moreover optimistic that the timeframe would not elapse without teachers being paid.
Another issue that the GTU has kept on the front burner has been that of duty free concession. Several teachers eligible for duty free concessions to purchase vehicles have for a number of years been denied this privilege under the previous regime.
The issue had reach controversial proportions, with the Education Ministry and the Union casting blame at each other for the stalled availability of duty free concessions to the teachers.
On this issue, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change coalition, upon being elected to office, had given a favourable response to the GTU.
The Union earlier this year was able to meet with the Minister of State in this regard.
GTU General Secretary, Ms. Coretta McDonald, had told this publication that, “within the agreement we would have had about 148 head teachers and deputy head teachers who had not received approval for their concessions. We had to get that sorted out with Mr. Harmon, because he is the person responsible for approving duty free concessions.”
The outcome of the meeting was favourable, McDonald had disclosed.
Lyte disclosed that only last week the favourable response was essentially fast-tracked when the eligible teachers were contacted Wednesday to make available to the Ministry of Education quotations for their vehicle of choice to the Ministry of Education’s Personnel Department. This, according to Lyte, is to allow for the teachers to have their duty free concession letters prepared for the Guyana Revenue Authority.
“The teachers are happy that they are also going to be receiving their duty free concession,” said Lyte, as he added that while the pace has is not desirable, “we must show appreciation for the effort put forward by the current administration to resolve these matters.”
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