With elections talks currently in overdrive mode, little to nothing is being said about salary negotiations between the Guyana Teachers Union [GTU] and the Ministry of Education. It was just such a development that resulted in the union agitating its members into industrial action on multiple occasions under this current administration.
Salary negotiations between the parties had commenced in March but were stalled due to failure on the part of government to entirely honour an agreement with the union. That agreement was inked in October, 2018, and expired by the end of the year. As a result some aspects of the agreement should have been honoured earlier this year.
The second half of the year has long commenced and the union is still waiting for government to honour its obligation. Lyte said the union is not pleased about this. Speaking to this publication yesterday, he said that while a circular had advised that teachers are likely to receive clothing allowances this term for the period 2016-2019 in accordance with the agreement, there has been no further word about other outstanding aspects.
According to the circular, teachers are expected to receive allowances on their September salaries which this publication understands should be payable by next Friday [September 20].
But the union, and by extension teachers, are yet to hear when they will be afforded an agreed upon $10,000 for Special Needs teachers and the monthly debunching scale for teachers. This publication understands the Ministry should have applied a scaled debunching system for teachers since earlier this year. Based on the agreement, teachers were paid a one-off $350 M for debunching monies owed to them for the period 2011 – 2018 and the scaled system would have been activated this year.
Sharing his concern about the delay, Lyte said yesterday that the union is still waiting for the “forward movement in relation to the negotiations.”
“Our position still remains the same on this matter, we have been saying to the Ministry we are willing to resume negotiations, providing that the outstanding matters are resolved but they have not given an indication when teachers will be placed on their scales; they have not given an indication when the $10,000 for special needs teachers is going to be paid.”
There is, however, a positive amidst the disheartenment. According to Lyte, “Presently we are having the committee meeting for the Housing Revolving Fund so that is in progress.”
Reiterating the union’s stance, Lyte added, “There are things outstanding we want to see movement on, and until such time no further negotiations are going to take place.”
When asked if the union has a timeline by which it expects government to fulfil its obligations, Lyte would only say that the union will make such developments public knowledge after consultations with its membership on the way forward.
Last month Lyte was optimistic that the salary negotiations would have resumed early this school term. At that time, too, he disclosed that the union had been able to address with the Ministry matters such as the schools’ remediation programme. He’d also shared the union’s expectation that a circular on Whitley Council leave would be disseminated to schools early this school term.
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