As the GTU wraps up its information session with teachers across the country on the planned strike action, it has found itself heading back to the negotiating table with the Ministry of Education as the two sides are set to meet on Friday afternoon to begin conciliation under the Ministry of Social Protection, which overlooks labour.
It was announced this 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 has revealed that it has agreed to provide the conciliatory services at the meeting between the two sides tomorrow from 2:00pm at the Education Ministry.
This will be the third meeting between the MOE and the GTU to come to an agreement on salary increase for teachers. The first meeting was held on August 9; the second was held one week later on August 19.
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.