One day after walking out of salary increase talks with the Ministry of Education, the Guyana Teachers Union returned to the negotiating table to discuss the Union’s concerns about the lack of progress with regard to negotiations of salary increases and other non-salary benefits for its members.
In a joint statement, the Union and the Government of Guyana reiterated their commitment to the process of Collective Bargaining.
The Union alluded to a meeting held with Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry on Thursday in which its concerns regarding the status of salary increases for teachers which were proposed since December 2015 were not being seriously addressed.
It also noted that the pronouncements by Henry at the meeting were at variance with the Union’s understanding of the Government’s approach to the matter.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon in response reminded of his most recent pronouncement on the matter at a Post Cabinet Media Conference, when he indicated that the issues regarding increased salaries for teachers were being considered by the Government in the form of a Multi-Year Proposal submitted by the Guyana Teachers’ Union.
The Minister of State further indicated that the Thursday meeting with the Minister of Education was never intended to be the final position of the Administration but rather an interim arrangement.
Harmon also told Union Executives that President David Granger was very concerned about the reports regarding the outcome of the meeting between the Union and the Ministry of Education and had signaled his willingness to meet with the Union on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. to discuss all matters of concern to the Union.
The Union indicated its acceptance of the President’s offer and made it clear that it was committed to the process of Collective Bargaining and that it would bring these developments to the attention of its members.
The GTU continues to push for a multi-year salary agreement, amid threats of strike action. The GTU wants the Ministry of Education to agree to an across-the-board increase in salary of 40% for 2016, 45% for 2017, 50% for 2018, 50% for 2019 and 50% for 2020.
The demand would cover all categories of teachers\teacher educators for the years 2016-2020. Additionally, the GTU wants an additional performance-based incentive of three percent (3%) per annum, of the total Teachers’ Wage Bill, which would be paid to eligible teachers during the period of the multi-year Agreement, with effect from January 01, 2016. The union is also pressing for all Teachers/ teacher educators to be granted a monthly “Emotional Allowance” of $5,000 along with other allowances.