Although schools are still closed for the August holidays, teachers across the country are set to officially begin their strike action from today, by staying away from those pre-opening activities and meetings for schools.
On Tuesday, the Guyana Teachers Union and the Ministry of Education are expected to meet at the Department of Labour for the start of conciliation talks.
The conciliation talks were expected to start last Friday, but the Teacher’s Union was a no show.
The Union’s President, Mark Lyte, blamed late notice as the reason for his union’s absence.
He said the union was not informed in a timely manner about the Friday meeting. Information about tomorrow’s meeting was sent out to the union last Friday.
Last week the Labour Department announced that 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 through its Labour Department has agreed to provide the conciliation services.
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.
The GTU has also said it will welcome any “proper” offer but has not indicated what proper offer would be.
The Government has said it is willing to pay the teachers increases but it cannot at this time afford the percentage increase that the union is demanding.
The Government has offered $700 Million for salary increases across the board for 2018 along with $200 Million for debunching.