After just over seven-hours of deliberations, the Guyana Teacher Union [GTU] and the Ministry of Education today arrived at an agreement that is expected to be pleasing to teachers. This is according to GTU President, Mr. Mark Lyte, who told media operatives after the meeting that “We are walking away a lot happier…”
In fact he assured that the union was able to broker an agreement with the Ministry that will bring a lot of satisfaction to teachers. “I think that was the ultimate objective of this whole process to ensure that every teacher benefits significantly; that has been achieved through our discussions and deliberations,” Lyte said.
The Ministry and the union agreed that teachers receive pay increase of 12 percent for 2016 and a further eight percent for 2018. The government has also offered them a $350 million debunching payout for the period 2016 – 2018.
Lyte said that the union was able to readily accept the offer since it had earlier this week consulted with its membership. However, a major segment of the meeting saw the parties deliberating on the non-salary aspects of the package for teachers.
Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry said that during the discussion, “We had to consider in a large way that every teacher in the system is a beneficiary of the outcome and so that is what we have proposed essentially.”
With the parties agreeing strike action proposed by the union as well as the arbitration will no longer be warranted. In fact disputes between the union and the Ministry are likely to become a thing of the past since the two sides have pledged to work more closely.
“For any relationship to be improved it requires some amount of collaboration, cooperation and communication…those are key things that have to happen. We have had some of that over the last week or so [and] coming out of those meetings we believe that the union is created to support the work of the Ministry and that the Ministry should be supportive of the union and so we are looking for a very symbiotic relationship,” said Minister Henry.