Before proceeding with further negotiations with the government for another multi-year remuneration agreement for public school teachers, the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) is demanding that all aspects of the previous agreement be honoured. Presenting this view of the union was its President Mark Lyte.
Lyte told media practitioners that although government has delivered on aspects of the agreement, which was agreed to towards the end of last year, there are still several outstanding areas. These, he said, range from non-payment of an agreed-upon $10,000 for Special Needs teachers; failure to active the monthly debunching scale for teachers; failure to pay uniform allowances which is compounded by the failure to rectify concerns regarding the calculation of a two percent increase on teachers’ salaries which was made payable earlier this year.
“Our members are frustrated; they are asking when they will be getting what they deserve but nobody is saying anything,” said the GTU President as, he added, “We are not willing to continue until all the outstanding matters in the present agreement are satisfied.”
Lyte’s remark comes on the heels of recent disclosures by at least two ministers that the government is engaged in ongoing negotiations with the union.
Even as he insisted that this is not the case, the GTU President said that the union is calling on, “government to do what it agreed to in the agreement which is still in effect. So we don’t know about any ongoing meeting until this is done. We made this clear ever since with of Ministry of Education’s Permanent Secretary.”
The agreement, which was signed between the union and the Ministry of Education, spanned the period 2016–2018 and essentially expired at the end of last year although assurance was given that government would fulfil what was agreed upon this year including a $350M one-off debunching payout.
The Union, with the blessings of its members, had moreover presented to the Ministry a new proposal earlier this year on which new negotiations could be premised.
Based on reports reaching Guyana Standard the two parties had only engaged one bout of negotiations months ago but the union decided to pull out until all aspects of the agreement in effect are honoured.