Sep 27, 2016 News
“We have a lot of issues with what they have done. The Union has not agreed to receive the percentage they are offering, so we cannot agree with this kind of practice…this is an imposition without an explanation.”
After abruptly halting negotiations with the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) in July, the Ministry of Education this month issued a directive for public school teachers to be granted 10 per cent and six percentage salary increases. The decision for the increase was arbitrarily made since according to GTU President, Mr. Mark Lyte, the Union was not consulted.
He made it clear that the Union does not endorse the decision and is certainly not taking this state of affairs lightly. According to Lyte, the Education Ministry disseminated a correspondence to public schools instructing that teachers be paid specified increases. The correspondence dated September 13, 2016, Lyte said, was signed by Permanent Secretary, Delma Nedd. “This directive was just sent out to the regions as it relates to payment for teachers for this year… a salary increase for 2016 without us concluding our negotiations,” Lyte disclosed.
Based on the directive, Lyte said that while junior level teachers are eligible for 10 per cent, six per cent has been awarded to senior teachers. The salary increase is expected to be implemented next month.
But the Union in its proposal to the Ministry, which was highlighted during sessions of the negotiation, had asked for a 40 per cent increase for teachers across the board for 2016.
The Union had proposed too that a 45 per cent increase for next year (2017) and 50 per cent for the following three years (2018-2020) for all categories of teachers.
In its proposal too, the Union had taken into consideration inflation and made it clear that “should there be inflation higher than the percentage agreed upon, then the teachers/teacher-educators must get the benefit of the difference.”
However, when asked whether the GTU-proposed 40 per cent across the board increase for public school teachers this year would be feasible, Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, in April said, “Frankly I would like to give the teachers even more but you know we have teachers to deal with, we have nurses to deal with…If you begin to raise the salaries of teachers in the classroom, the nurses are going to ask ‘what about us?’”
The GTU President yesterday lamented “The Education Ministry arrived at this (increase) without us being invited or told before. We just received a document that this is it…”
“The Union is not happy about the manner in which this matter is being treated because at public forums they talk about how teachers will be paid and how they are important…Is this how you treat a professional body that started to sit with you at the negotiation table since December?” the GTU President questioned.
He disclosed that while the Union had sought an audience with the Permanent Secretary these efforts were futile. A meeting with Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, tomorrow has however since been scheduled, Lyte informed.
It is expected, Lyte said, that the Minister will be able to bring clarity to the development and a number of other concerns that have surfaced in recent months. Some of the Union’s concerns include a failure on the part of Government to honour the payment of debunching monies that was promised to teachers under the previous administration. Minister Roopnaraine when asked in July if the current regime would honour the payment, he said “We are looking at the debunching right now…
“We have to honour whatever commitments the Government entered into with the teachers’ union and right now I know they are looking at the whole debunching issue.”
Stressing his disappointment with the more recent concern (the arbitrary salary increase) Lyte added, “They have not negotiated with us in good fate and that is in breach of the regulations as it relates to collective bargaining.”
Collective bargaining underscores the need for an agreement in writing between an employer and a trade union setting forth the terms and conditions of employment or containing provision in regard to rates of pay, hours of work or other working conditions of employees.
“We have a lot of issues with what they have done. The Union has not agreed to receive the percentage they are offering, so we cannot agree with this kind of practice…this is an imposition without an explanation,” stressed Lyte.
He continued, “They feel that they will work with us when it is convenient to them…but when they want to meet stakeholders they want us to join them…but the way they treat us is not something we are happy about.”
Guyanese you are being prostituted by your politicians!
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