Government and the Guyana Teachers Union [GTU] are finally gearing to officially ink an agreement for a multi-year salary package for public school teachers. Guyana Standard was able to verify that, at the most recent Cabinet meeting, concerns raised by representatives of the union were discussed and addressed.
While the union had accepted the final financial offer made by government last week, its representatives had shared concerns about some non-financial aspects. At a recent meeting between Union representatives and the Education Ministry, the subject Minister [Nicolette Henry] was unable to address the concerns and had therefore promised to get clarity at the level of Cabinet.
Clarifications on all concerns have since been filtered to union representatives who, Guyana Standard understands, are ready to ink a Memorandum of Agreement [MOA] with the Education Ministry in the new week.
The final financial offer made by government to the union is for teachers to receive 12 percent in 2016, a mere fraction of what the union had initially proposed. The union had also proposed an additional five percent for teachers for each of the four (2017-2020) following years but has instead been offered eight percent for 2018. This therefore means that by the end of this year, the union will have to recommence salary negotiations.
However, the task currently at hand for the union is to make clear to its membership what they are likely to take home once a MOA has been inked. Reports are that the GTU has been quietly sharing with its members what they each are likely to receive. Teachers will not receive the total percent offered since they had, along with other public servants, earlier received salary increases pending the outcome of negotiations between the union and the Education Ministry.
This has become particularly important since, according to one union official “attempts are being made to create discord among the union membership. So we have to keep the membership informed so that they understand exactly what they are expected to receive.” Once the agreement is signed it is expected that the Ministry of Finance will begin processing retroactive payment to teachers which will be payable in two tranches – in December and
Teachers are also expected to receive a payout of $350 million as part of debunching monies owed to them since 2011.