The Ministry of Education today announced that it will solely manage the duty-free and other benefits for teachers, removing the Guyana Teachers Union as a partner in the process.
Under a 2018 agreement between the GTU and the Ministry of Education under the coalition government, the two sides agreed that the GTU would identify eligible teachers for scholarships and duty-free concessions annually.
However, the Education Ministry in its announcement today claimed that it will take over the process, claiming that the GTU has been using it to punish teachers who do not support its protest and strike action.
The GTU has since denied the claims.
In a statement today, the Education Ministry said it has received complaints and reports from serving teachers regarding how the benefits are allocated or not allocated.
The Ministry claims that lately, the complaints have elevated from the mismanagement of the system by the Union to the benefits being used as weapons to threaten teachers to participate in activities organized by the GTU, failing which, members are informed openly and subtly that they will not be a recipient or continuing recipient of a scholarship nor of a duty-free concession.
“These reports have come from teachers who are duly qualified to receive these benefits. These reports cannot be ignored”, the Education Ministry said.
According to the Ministry, the benefits will continue to be granted to teachers and teachers will still be able to access the scholarships and duty-free concessions at the stated amount per year, but the management of the initiative will be done solely by the Ministry and the GTU will now play no part.
The Education Ministry’s decision follows closely on the heels of protest and strike action called by the Teachers Union over the Government’s vaccination policy and other issues.
Teachers are being locked out of school compounds over their failure to provide proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test result.
The GTU is still to respond to the move by the Ministry of Education.