Education Minister “perplexed” at unavailability of written judgement in GTU v MoE case

Education Minister “perplexed” at unavailability of written judgement in GTU v MoE case

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, took to her social media page this afternoon to complain about the unavailability of the written ruling that was handed down by Justice Sandil Kissoon in the case that was filed by the Guyana Teachers Union against the her Ministry, and the Government.

Justice Kissoon handed down his ruling on the 19th April, blocking the Government from cutting the salaries of striking teachers and also ordering the Government to continue to deduct union dues from the salaries of teachers on behalf of the Guyana Teachers Union.

In a Facebook post this afternoon, the Education Minister, who previously did not offer any comments on the ruling, said she is perplexed and worried that the judgement which was handed down in April remains unavailable to the parties involved and the public.

The statement by Manickchand, who is also an Attorney, followed a similar concern by Attorney General Anil Nandall, who has indicated that the Government is in the process of appealing the ruling by Justice Kissoon.

During his “Issues in the News” tv programme, Mr. Nandlall said “we have not yet received that written ruling, although the judge said from the bench, when he was delivering the judgment, that we will get it shortly after he read it from what I understand was a prepared text. And he said so, therefore, it ought not to take a long time to make it available…One month has gone by, and we are still to receive the judgement. I had planned to wait for the judgement to be delivered before I filed my appeal. But since we are now running out of time, I will have to proceed to file my appeal and make my application for a stay”, Nandlall said.

In the ruling, which turned out to be a big win for the teachers and their union, Justice Kissoon lambasted the Government for not engaging the GTU in collective bargaining, despite the many requests by the union to get the process started. He also questioned the credibility of the Chief Education Officer, who was a witness in the case, and questioned the work of the Labour Department.

Teachers resumed their strike action last week to press the Government to begin collective bargaining on the 2019 to 2023 proposals. The Government wants to boycott that period and instead focus on this year and the years ahead. The two sides have been meeting with the Chief Labour Officer on the issue. The meetings are set continue next Monday.

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