With over 300 educators from Region 6 present at a meeting on Friday with the Guyana Teachers’ Union president, Mark Lyte and Regional Vice President in Berbice, Donette D’Andrade, many were furious about remarks made by Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira with regard to the union’s proposal, which he described as “exorbitant”.
D’Andrade stated that it comes as a surprise that such statements would come from the MP, since he “was a part of the making of that proposal”. She added that Figueira was once a general council representative before he became a member of parliament, “so for Mr. Figueira to sit where he is now to say to us that what we are asking for is exorbitant, it is clearly saying to us that Mr. Figueira is a hypocrite”.
The union rep continued to state that the MP should not be trusted to speak about teachers and their needs.
Figueira had told state media that he was “perplexed” and “discombobulated” with the union’s negotiating skills. He stated that “there is no reasonableness” to the numbers proposed. The MP is also a teacher who served as a former union chairman.
She urged the teachers to remain focused and know that at no point should fear step in that the union will “leave us hanging”. D’Andrade stressed that the Education Minister should not be talking about the struggles of teachers when “she doesn’t understand our needs, but if she does and is reacting in this way, then she doesn’t care”.
GTU President Mark Lyte, who is also a Headteacher, was the first to hand over his keys to the Education department in Region 6, several other headteachers in the region have signaled their intentions to follow and proceed with the strike, commencing tomorrow. It was also disclosed by Lyte that to kick off the strike action they will begin with a picketing exercise countrywide.
He emphasised to the headteachers and teachers who are “scared” to carry on with a strike, that it is against the constitution to be victimized.
According to Lyte, “it is within the labour law that a teacher can choose to strike, so nobody has the right to victimize if we are taking a legitimate stand”.
Regional Education Officer, Volika Jaikishun, who was also present at the meeting, confirmed that so far, only one headteacher has handed over the keys to his school.
Following two recent meetings, the Union heard that government was not prepared to agree to, among other things, the increased salary percentage detailed in the Union’s multi-year agreement proposal. At the end of 2015, a multi-year salary package between the Union and the previous government came to an end, which saw the Union crafting and submitting to the Education Ministry a new proposal intended to span the period 2016 – 2020.
The proposal included a 40 percent across the board increase for teachers for 2016; 45 percent increase for last year and 50 percent for this year and the following two years (2019-2020) for all categories of teachers.
Sep 22, 2018The 2018 Indigenous Heritage Games (IHG) was officially kicked off by Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock yesterday morning at the at the Everest Cricket Club (ECC) Ground,...
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