Government decides to stop deducting union fees from teachers’ salaries for GTU with immediate effect

Government decides to stop deducting union fees from teachers’ salaries for GTU with immediate effect

As teachers across the country entered day two of their strike action which has been initiated by the Guyana Teachers’ Union, the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Education has decided to discontinue the deduction of the $700 per month fee from the salaries of teachers for the union.

Over the years, while acting as an agent of the GTU, the Government would deduct the union fees from salaries of teachers who are members of the union, and pay that money over to the union for its representation of the teachers.

In a letter to the President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union carrying today’s date, the Permanent Secretary of the Education Ministry, Shannielle Hoosein-Outar, stated that the ongoing strike by teachers is illegal and in wake of the strike action, the Government of Guyana has decided that with immediate effect, it will no longer provide the service to the GTU of deducting the union fees from the salaries of the teachers and paying that over to the union.

The Permanent Secretary said the Government’s decision is based on the union’s conduct in calling the strike action and getting teachers to go on strike.

She explained that the Government is clearly of the view that the strike action is unlawful and inimical to the welfare of students and teachers, adding that the union had already come to an agreement with the Government on many of its demands.

The Permanent Secretary also stated that the Education Ministry has received reports of the union issuing threats against teachers. The union has denied that claim.

PS Hoosein-Outar also claimed that the strike action has become political with an Opposition MP being the Chief Architect of the strike. The General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers Union is an Opposition Member of Parliament. She has served as General Secretary of the GTU for several years and has been in in the forefront of strikes by teachers, even when the current opposition was in Government.

The Ministry of Education’s Permanent Secretary highlighted a 2010 Court case in which a Judge stated that the Government of Guyana was only acting as an agent in the collection of union fees from the salaries of public servants for the GPSU and it is the responsibility of the union to collect those fees.

She said the union should now make alternative arrangements now that the Government has decided that it will no longer deduct those fees on the union’s behalf.

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