Talks between MoE, GTU over salary increases collapsed

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Full Statement from the Ministry of Education:

This morning, the Ministry of Education met with representatives of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) in the Ministry’s boardroom to continue the collective bargaining process which was ongoing but ended abruptly with the strike action in February and which began again last week pursuant to a mediation agreement.

The Ministry of Education was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Shannielle Hoosein-Outar, Chief Education Officer, Mr. Saddam Hussain, Deputy Chief Education Officer- AHED, Mr. Marti DeSouza, Deputy Chief Education Officer- Admin, Ms. Tiffany Harvey, the Ministry’s Human Resource Manager, Ms. Jacqueline Simon, and Mr. Kerwin Jacobs, Senior Education Officer.

The Guyana Teachers’ Union was represented by GTU President Dr. Mark Lyte, GTU General Secretary, Ms. Coretta McDonald Ms. Mariska Williams, Mr. Heathcliff Peters, Ms. Sumanta Alleyne, Mr. Collis Nicholson, Ms. Donnette D’Andrade, Mr. Rabindrauth Boodram and Mr. Colin Bynoe, along with three General Council members, Mr. Deoraj Nauth, Mr. Sergio Joseph, and Ms. Vanessa Kissoon.

The meeting was chaired by Mrs. Hoosein-Outar who upheld the Government’s position that discussions surrounding salary increases should be from 2024 onwards. She explained that increases for the prior years would have financial implications, and that the 2024 budget does not have the fiscal space to accommodate the retroactive payment of salaries for teachers during the period 2019 – 2023. Mrs. Hoosein-Outar asked the Union’s representatives to submit to the Ministry a proposal which would capture their request for a multiyear agreement commencing 2024.

Today’s meeting reached an impasse after the GTU indicated that they are only interested in discussing salaries, particularly between the period of 2019 – 2023 and nothing else.

The GTU maintained its determination to only discuss salary matters in relation to the prior years and refused to address the other 25 matters which were identified by both the Ministry of Education and the Union for discussion. This resulted in the representatives of the union abandoning the process and walking out of the meeting.

It should be noted that during the prior years teachers have benefited from salary increases, salary adjustments that reflect teachers’ qualifications and incorrect calculations of salaries. Additionally, there were initiatives which were rolled out to the benefit of teachers across the country and which added to their disposable income as well as their welfare.

The Ministry of Education reiterates its commitment to continuing dialogue with the Guyana Teachers’ Union that have been ongoing and which have produced several noteworthy results that will benefit teachers, children, and the system as a whole.