The planned conciliation talks between the Guyana Teachers Union and the Ministry of Education did not take place today as expected, after the GTU stayed away from the meeting over late notice.
GTU President Mark Lyte, told News Source this afternoon that his union was not informed in a timely manner about the meeting and therefore, the union did not attend.
It was announced late yesterday afternoon that acting in conformity with the provisions of an existing Collective Labour Agreement, the Ministry of Education applied for mediatory services in the current Salaries and Benefits negotiations between itself and the union.
The Ministry of Social Protection revealed yesterday that it has agreed to provide the conciliatory services at the meeting between the two sides today from 2:00pm.
When that statement came out, it might have been the first time that the Teachers Union was hearing of the move.
If conciliation fails, then the process will move towards arbitration.
A former executive of the Guyana Teachers Union has stated that once the process reaches that stage, the parties will not want to negotiate under duress. That therefore could put a spoke in the wheel of the planned strike action.
The GTU has remained adamant that the government concede to its proposal of an across-the-board increase in salary of forty per cent (40%) for 2016, forty-five per cent in (2017), fifty per cent (50%) in 2018, fifty per cent (50%) in 2019 and fifty per cent (50%) in 2020 be granted to all categories of teachers/teacher educators for the years 2016-2020.
But the Government has deemed the GTU’s demands as unreasonable, pointing out that consideration should be given to the economic status of the country and has maintained that government can only pay what it can afford.
The Government’s counterproposal is to make available a ballpark of $700Million for teachers’ salary increases and $200Million for debunching for 2018. The government has also suggested that a specialist is contracted to work with the GTU (if agreed) to determine the percentage of increase per category.