In wake of the GTU threatening strike action once again, President David Granger convened a meeting with the executive members of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and the Minister of Education, Ms. Nicolette Henry and a team from her Ministry.
According to the Ministry of the Presidency, the two sides are now closer to a resolution than ever before.
President Granger said that the two sides have found “common ground” and are working towards a favourable outcome. It is expected, he said, that an announcement will be made by Friday.
“We have had some hiccups but we now seem to be coming to the end of the road. There seems to be wide areas of what I would say common acceptance of what needs to be done. Minister of Education had a long meeting on Friday, October 5 with the Union and… all of the points that were at issue between the two sides were discussed… We have agreed that the two sides would meet again on Wednesday, October 10. The intention is to create a basis for an agreement between the two sides as early as possible, possibly by Friday,” he said.
According to the President’s office, he noted that it is important for the Government and the Union to work to complete this process since it is aware that the teachers have expectations. He noted that the teachers can be assured that the Government is concerned about the issues raised and is working to address these.
“They are not being ignored or anything. We, of course, expect that the Teachers’ Union consult with its members and the Teachers’ Union expects that we, the Government, consult with the Ministry of Finance. So we have reached a broad area in which, I would say that there is common ground. I don’t want to call it an agreement but we have reached common ground and I think the people of Guyana could look forward to an amicable resolution within days. It is a forward-looking agreement,” the Head of State said.
The meeting was attended on the Government’s side by Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Ms. Adele Clarke and Human Resources Manager, Ministry of Education, Ms. Jacqueline Simon. The GTU was represented by President, Mr. Mark Lyte, General Secretary, Ms. Coretta McDonald and other executives.
The two sides had agreed to move their dispute to arbitration. But then that process came to a halt as the two could not agree on a Chairperson for the arbitration panel and a selection of a Chairperson by the Labour Ministry was rejected.