The President of the Guyana Teachers Union, Mark Lyte, is disputing statements made by the Education Minister, Nicolette Henry that the GTU and the Ministry were set to meet again to deal wit negotiations about the salary for teachers.
Speaking to reporters today, the GTU President said following the counter proposal pushed forward by the Ministry of Education on behalf of the Government, the union made clear what it found favour with and what it did not support.
“There was no plan for a follow up meeting because at the end of the meeting, the pleas were for us to accept what they had on the table. That was the plea from Minister Amna Ally, Minister Scott and to some extent Minister Henry, for the union to accept what they had, because that was all they cold have afforded”, he explained.
While the Union went into the meeting pushing for a 40% salary increase for teachers, the Government offered a ballpark figure, which the union believes would have resulted in teachers only receiving a $5000 salary hike for the current year.
Since that meeting, the GTU has announced that teachers will begin strike action from the 27th August until further notice. Schools reopen their doors on the 3rd September.
The GTU President said the Government needs to be very clear with what it is offering and not just imply what the intend to do. He said there was never an option for further negotiations.
However, the Union President said the Minister of Education has since written to the Union inviting the Union to another meeting.
Mr. Lyte said that in the latest letter from the Education Minister, she is asking the Union to justify its position on several issues related to the negotiations and the union’s refusal of the Government’s offer. He said the union has already made known its reasons and has outlined that clearly during the task force meetings.
He said the union would have to seek clarity on what exactly the Minister wants, before agreeing to the meeting.
There are close to 10,000 teachers in the public education system.