Education International threatens to report Government UN Labour Organization over its handling of strike by teachers

Education International threatens to report Government UN Labour Organization over its handling of strike by teachers

The Global Union Federation of Teachers, Education International, has described the Guyana Government’s posture on the ongoing strike by teachers as “deeply concerning”, and has threatened to report the Government’s inaction to the United Nations Labour Organization.

In a statement, the international organisation also expressed its disappointment regarding the lack of acknowledgment or response to its previous communication to the Minister of Education, which highlighted the ongoing challenges faced by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) in initiating negotiations with the government. 

In a follow up letter to Education Minister Priya Manickchand, General Secretary of Education International David Edwards, noted that despite the tireless efforts by the GTU to engage in dialogue regarding crucial matters such as salary increases and non-salary benefits for teachers, it is disheartening to note the absence of fruitful dialogue.

In its initial letter, the organization highlighted the importance of a collaborative approach based on the provisions of International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 98 to address the concerns of teachers and reach a resolution that benefits all parties involved.

“The lack of response or engagement from the government is deeply concerning. Given the urgency and seriousness of this matter, we are left with no choice but to consider escalating the issue to the ILO level. The Guyana Teachers’ Union, as an affiliate of Education International (EI), is entitled to the protections and rights outlined in the ILO Convention 98, which Guyana ratified in 1967,” Education International General Secretary said in his letter.

The Education International Official reminded, that the ILO, in its mission to promote social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, has consistently emphasized the importance of collective bargaining in settling disputes related to the determination of terms and conditions of employment. 

“We urge the Government of Guyana to prioritize collective bargaining for public servants and to consider conciliation by an independent body if negotiations are unsuccessful. I ask you to take immediate action to acknowledge and address the concerns raised by the GTU, enter into meaningful negotiations guided by fairness and respect, and avoid the need for international scrutiny and intervention. Failing a positive and constructive response within a reasonable timeframe, EI may have no option but to bring this matter to the attention of the United Nations Labour Organization,” Education International urged.

Hundreds of Teachers have been on the streets for the past four weeks, pleading with the Government to address their salary and non-salary issues.

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