The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) is joining the Guyana Trades Union Congress in condemning, what it considers, “the clear intention of the Ministry of Social Protection to railroad the composition of the Arbitration Tribunal that will address pay rise and working conditions of our nation’s teachers”.
According to the union body, the move by the Junior Minister of Social Protection, Keith Scott, to impose a Chairman of the Tribunal is yet another manifestation of the Administration’s attempt to undermine the teachers and union struggle.
According to FITUG, it is “completely dismaying and utterly reprehensible” that the Ministry which is charged with upholding workers’ rights and conditions, has shed pretenses and is exposing its partiality in the matter.
“The Minister, from our point of view, is far removed from his boundary and has gotten himself in uncharted waters from which he has, in our view, no justification to enter. It seems clearly that he has misunderstood his role and is causing serious damage in its wake.”
Just yesterday, the Guyana Trades Union Congress said the Minister was out of place for appointing a Chairman to the arbitration panel.
The GTUC said there is no legal authority invested in the Minister to make such a move when there is a voluntary arbitration process.
Instead, the union pointed out, the Minister could only make a nomination.
The Guyana Teachers Union has treated the Minister’s intervention as making a nomination and has already indicated that it is not supportive of the nomination.
Three weeks ago, the GTU and the Ministry of Education agreed to move the dispute over teachers’ salary increases to arbitration. Both sides have presented nominees for the Chairperson of the Arbitration panel, but there has not been any agreement.