Teachers strike continues as GTU, Govt to resume talks on June 10

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Some teachers on the protest line [File photo]

Representatives of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), the Labour Ministry as well as the Education Ministry will meet again next week, to resume talks, aimed at finalising an agreement on the payment period for salary increases for teachers.

This is the third time the Labour Ministry will facilitate conciliatory talks between the GTU and the Education Ministry since the resumption of strike action on Thursday, May 9, 2024.

During a live social media broadcast on Tuesday, GTU President Mark Lyte said the union is expecting to have a fruitful engagement this time around.

However, he insisted that the strike will continue until the GTU and teachers get a fair bargain.

Nevertheless, the GTU President said the union is very concerned about the impact this situation is having on students.

“We have reached out because we believe that this situation must not go on forever, that through dialogue, that is one of the ways that mature, responsible people can mend the differences and move to a place where we can start the constructive and meaning full talks,” Lyte said.

The talks are scheduled for Monday, June 10. That day will mark 62 days of continuous strike action and a significant absence of educators in schools across the country.

Lyte said the union and the government were unable to arrive at terms of resumption that would be “fair” to educators during their previous engagements, however, if talks fail for a third time, the union will purse arbitration.

“The strike continues until we have favourable terms of resumption that will pave the way for conciliation. And if conciliation fails thereafter. for us to negotiate the process of arbitration,” Lyte said.

He added that, “we want to government to understand that we are serious about teachers’ needs, we come not as a political party, we come as educators of this nation and we come on the interest of educators.”

The GTU has been pressing for salary increases for the years 2019 to 2023 to be negotiated however, the Education Ministry has insisted that it will only deal with the year 2024 onwards.

Only recently, the GTU disclosed that it was willing to compromise forgo the years 2019 and 2020.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand had recently disclosed that just over 50% of educators across the country are not turning up for work.