Although the Guyana Teachers Union [GTU] was initially hoping to negotiate a five-year salary package for public school teachers, it was eventually forced to accept a three-year package instead. This is in light of growing concerns that government would not have been able to find the necessary funds to pay the 10,000 odd teachers within the union’s membership.
This is according to GTU President, Mr. Mark Lyte, who made it clear earlier today that it was the union’s decision and not an imposition by government to reduce the number of years negotiated for. The union, since 2015, had proposed a five year salary package for teachers asking for a 40 percent across the board increase for 2016 and five percent for each of the following four years (2017-2020).
However, the union and the Education Ministry were on Friday able to agree on the multi-year package for teachers which will see them being eligible for 12 percent in 2016 and a further eight percent for this year. While the two sides have negotiated for non-salary benefits too, Lyte said that a few aspects are still to be approved by Cabinet before they can be incorporated in an agreement set to be inked sometime this week. “We just have about two or three things more in the non-salary category to agree on…these aren’t big things but Minister [of Education]
could not give us the answers on Friday because she has to consult with the President or Cabinet before she can agree to something,” Lyte shared.
Meanwhile, Lyte, said that based on the feedback the union has received the majority of teachers are receptive of the package that has been accepted thus far. “In everything situation you will not find everybody agreeing on everything but what we know is that the majority of our membership trusted us to agree to something that will be beneficial to them and we believe we agreed to a good deal even though we were hoping to get a little bit more for our teachers,” Lyte informed.
Lyte disclosed too that the union as well as its membership is looking to move forward and as such close attention will be paid to government’s retroactive payment to teachers by December. The union and the Education Ministry have agreed to pay teachers in two tranches the second of which is expected to be made in January.