Talks between GTU and MoE to continue on Monday; Teachers to continue strike action

Talks between GTU and MoE to continue on Monday; Teachers to continue strike action

The current strike action by teachers is expected to continue for the remainder of the week and into next week, as the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) and the Ministry of Education ended the second day of their talks with no agreement on the Terms of Resumption, to allow for the process of Conciliation.

Officials from the Union and the Education Ministry met with the Chief Labour Officer Dhaneshwar Deonarine for a second day today with the hope of arriving at an agreed position on the Terms of Resumption, but they were unable to do so.

Outside of the Ministry of Labour’s Brickdam Office, President of the GTU, Mark Lyte, told reporters that some progress has been made with regards to the period to be negotiated. He said other conditions are now being considered by both sides. 

“The major issue had been the years; I think we have moved pass that and we are looking at some other things that are on the table presently. So, the PS and her team, they have gone to consult,” Lyte said.

The Government has been insisting that it would only discuss salary increases for 2024 and beyond, while boycotting the outstanding 2019-2023 proposal that was submitted by the GTU four years ago.

It is believed that the proposed Terms of Resumption could include both periods.  

“It is formulated in such a way it includes both years, because the conciliation process will determine the timeframe. So that has been how it is worded, how it is worded. Because the ministry is saying that on the part of the government, they can only negotiate 2024 and onward, the union is sticking to its mandate, of 2019-2023. So, the mediation process should bring us to a place where we can thrash that out,” the GTU President explained.

GTU President Mark Lyte

Mr. Lyte indicated that while the GTU and Education Ministry are meeting in the presence of the Chief Labour Office, the process of Conciliation has not started. However, the process is expected to get underway once an agreement has been reached on the Terms of Resumption.

“There is some level of eagerness for us to terminate the strike but the GTU is cognizant of the fact that we would have terminated the strike the last time, and what should have been honoured on that occasion wasn’t honoured, so we are making sure we check all the boxes before we sign a resumption agreement,” the GTU President explained. 

The talks between the two sides, and the Labour Ministry will continue on Monday. However, in the interim, the strike is expected to continue, and teachers are expected to continue to stay away from their classrooms. (Svetlana Marshall)

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