Smiles plastered the faces of the Executives of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) as they emerged from a one-hour meeting with the President David Granger just after 12 noon on Monday.
“The union will no longer be going forward with the planned strike for Thursday and Friday,” GTU President Mark Lyte told reporters.
He said President David Granger exhibited “a lot of interest” on resolving the issues.
“We had a very fruitful meeting with the President and the Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry,” he added.
Lyte disclosed during his brief engagement with the media that a Task Force will be set up to work on the Union’s proposal and other issues relating to teachers.
He said the first meeting is set for Wednesday and at that meeting, the Task Force will decide on a timeline.
The Task force will comprise of officials from the Ministries of the Presidency, Education, Finance, Social Protection, Communities along with representatives from the Union.
Last week, Union representatives walked out of a meeting with the Education Minister and threatened to go on strike, claiming that their proposal was being sidelined and not addressed seriously.
But one day after that walk out, a meeting was set between the union and the President.
Mr. Lyte said he believes the action taken was needed. “It seemed as though no one was really paying attention to the interest of the teachers other than talk in public forum but I believe today the President was made aware of several things.”
The Union had proposed an across the board increase for teachers between 40% and 50% and for all teachers to be be granted a monthly Emotional Allowance of $5,000 along with other allowances.
Joint Statement from the Government of Guyana and the Guyana Teachers’ Union
His Excellency, President David Granger met a delegation from the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), today, at State House to discuss the way forward with regard to negotiations between the Government and the Union.
During the meeting the two sides agreed to the establishment of a High -Level Task Force comprising on one hand, representatives from the Ministries of Education, Finance, Communities, Public Service and Presidency and, on the other hand, representatives from the Union. The Task Force is expected to be constituted byWednesday, November 1, 2017.
The Minister of Education, Hon. Nicolette Henry has consented to taking the issue of the composition of the Task Force to Cabinet tomorrow, Tuesday, October 31, 2017.
The Task Force will hold its first meeting to establish timelines for its meetings and the completion of its work. The Union has agreed to provide a complete dossier of its financial and non-financial submissions by Wednesday, November 1, 2017.
The President proposed that the discussions take a holistic view on the improvement of the education sector. The Task Force will also take account of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Education Sector in Guyana and other matters relating to the well being of teachers and students.
In the meantime, teachers will enjoy an interim salary increase ranging from six to eight percent, retroactive to January 1, 2017.
Hon. Nicolette Henry
Minister of Education
Ms. Lesmeine Collins, First Vice President,
Guyana Teachers Union