“We are awaiting the names that they will now bring to the table,” said President of the Guyana Teachers Union [GTU], Mr. Mark Lyte, earlier today. Lyte’s response comes in wake of a move by the Ministry of Education to seek the intervention of its sister Ministry – the Ministry of Social Protection – to nominate the chairperson for the arbitration panel to negotiate a salary package for public school teachers.
This development comes on the heels of two meetings between the parties [the Education Ministry and the GTU] to agree on a suitable candidate to chair the arbitration panel.
The parties involved had agreed that the arbitration panel will be made of three members, with either side selecting one member each and both agreeing on the chairperson.
However, the move to solicit the support of Social Protection Ministry is in keeping with the Terms of Resumption agreed upon when the two sides met on Thursday September 6, 2018.
In accepting the request for its intervention, Ministry of Social Protection, through its Junior Minister, Mr. Keith Scott, has since written to President of the Union, Mr. Mark Lyte, to inform him of the development. Lyte has also been advised that he will be informed of future development(s) on the matter in due course.
Last week Friday the union and the Education Ministry met to finalise a Terms of Reference for the arbitration process and decide on a nominee to chair the panel.
While the meeting saw the two sides agreeing on the TOR, the move to identify a chairperson was entirely unsuccessful.
The GTU submitted the names of three possible candidates namely: Rashleigh Jackson, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Jeffrey Thomas, a former Minister of Education, Labour and Regional Development and Dr. Aubrey Armstrong who in 1999 chaired the Arbitration Tribunal between the Guyana Public Service Union and the Government of Guyana.
However, the names submitted by the union were all rejected by the Ministry of Education team which included Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson, and Permanent Secretary, Ms. Adele Clarke. According to Lyte, the Education team did not even bother to qualify its rejection with any reason.
The nominees submitted by the Education team were: Mr. Derrick Cummings, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Mr. Glendon Harris, the Human Resource Manager of the Guyana Revenue Authority. Both nominees were rejected by the union because they are both serving members of the State.