Months after inking an agreement to make official salary increases for public school teachers for a three-year period (2016 to 2018), the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) is gearing to head back to the negotiation table.

The union, through its President, Mr. Mark Lyte, said that since the recently signed multi-year salary package will essentially elapse this month, the union has already completed a proposal for yet another.

The new proposal, which will cover a five-period (2019 to 2023), will be presented to the Education Ministry sometime after the union’s December 18, 2018, General Council meeting. According to Lyte, once the proposal is approved at the level of Council it will be forthwith submitted to the Ministry.

The GTU President also shared his expectation that reaching an agreement with the Ministry will not be a protracted affair. In fact, he disclosed that the union is hoping that negotiations could be completed and government’s offer to teachers will be known within the first quarter of next year. Without sharing details of the proposal, Lyte said that while he is optimistic that government will agree to a five-year multi-year package, the union is prepared to accept, at the least, a three-year package.

The last time the union submitted a proposal to the Education Ministry it took three years before an agreement was arrived at. Those three years, Lyte recalled, were very frustrating for the union and its membership and he is therefore hopeful that the experiences of the past will not resurface.

“We don’t expect it to be long and drawn out this time. The last time it took about three years before we were able to sign anything. It started in December 2015…we talked on and off until 2018 before we actually got around to signing,” Lyte said as he recalled the various forms of industrial action the union had engaged in retaliation to the slothful approach exhibited by government towards the negotiation process.

“We assume that maybe they (the Ministry of Education) have learnt from their experience with us being on the road and they would not want us to go down that road again,” said Lyte, as he added, “We are going into the negotiation this time optimistic that things will be more favourable from our point of view. We are optimistic that mutual respect will prevail over the table and that is exactly what we will demand if it is not shown to us.”


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