Led by its President, Mark Lyte and General Secretary Coretta Mc Donald, the Guyana Teachers Union today picketed outside the Ministry of Finance calling for outstanding salary increase issues for teachers to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The Union wants the multi-year proposal submitted to the government to be given urgent attention.
On the protest line today, the GTU President said the issues which have been raised by the GTU ought to be addressed in the shortest possible time.
“Teachers are in dire need of their increases, they are in dire need of their finances and that is something we would like to see honored—the financial aspect, because cost of living is very high and teachers have commitments financially like everyone else,” Lyte noted.
The GTU also wants the Finance Ministry to correct an anomaly for teachers who joined the profession in 2016, but were being paid on the previous year’s scale. He said this outstanding issue, continues to pose a disadvantage to those teachers.
The Union is not budging from its position that the nation’s educators are being treated unfairly. Mr. Lyte said teachers go above and beyond and are not properly compensated for their efforts.
He said the welfare of the nation’s teachers must be addressed.
“We are willing, as we have committed in the pass to do, engage in meaningful dialogue so that we can address the concerns of teachers. In April when we had discussions with government ministers and subsequently last week, nothing came out of that as a follow up, we were expecting at least some of the issues that we raised that they were going to be ordered,” Lyte noted.
GTU General Secretary Coretta Mc Donald, said the union felt disrespected when officials were told recently by a government minister that there were no updates regarding the outstanding issues raised by the GTU, despite an earlier commitment.
Meanwhile, in a press release this afternoon, the Education Ministry, took a swipe at the protest, calling it opportunistic and insinuating that it is political in nature. The Education Ministry said the issues raised on the picket line are actively under consideration.
“There was therefore absolutely no reason for this morning’s protest except to grandstand and claim credit amongst teachers for matters that are well on their way to being realized. The GTU must consider whether it wishes to continuously be used by a failing opposition member Coretta Mc Donald or if it wants to work to bring benefits to teachers,” a stern statement from the Education Ministry said.
McDonald who is an Opposition Member of Parliament, was also instrumental in protests against the previous government on issues related to the welfare of teachers.