A consensus for salary increases has been reached between the Guyana Teachers Union and the Ministry of Education on Firday.
In a joint statement between the two sides, an agreement will be singed in the new week to have a 12% increase for 2016, and 8% for 2017 and 2018. Also $350 million will be set aside for debunching for the period 2011 to 2018. Further the two sides agreed to all non-salary benefits.
The statement said “having considered the new information provided, which included salary benefits for all scales of teachers ranging from TS1 to TS19 and Special and non-salary benefits, the two parties concluded discussions and have committed to the implementation of the agreement, the three-year 2016 – 2018 agreement will be signed in the new week. There was an amicable settlement for the matter not to proceed to arbitration”.
However, some teachers said that they are in the dark as to what is actually happening, as a great majority of teachers were not involved in the process. They are calling for details on the new agreement to be made public. One teacher, Vanessa Kissoon who is dissatisfied with the what has happened, said that the Union should call a General Council meeting as early as possible and tell the Council what they have agreed to, since it was the Council that gave the Union the demands. She further stated that the General Council will then go to the teachers for consensus, which will include teachers in the hinterland who may not have access to what has been agreed to. The Union needs approval from the Council to sign the agreement she noted.
“The teachers terminated the strike with the full understanding that our leaders will be taking the issue of salary and non-salary benefits to arbitration. We stood by you when you called on us to strike. We supported you when the ended the strike with full understanding this is what you are going to do. Now teachers are reading that you have said the Union will not go to arbitration. To the best of my knowledge teachers didn’t know about this nor gave permission for not going to arbitration. It is my understanding that more than half of the teachers will not get an increase. Whatever the government imposed in 2016 will be deducted from the 10 percent. Is this a fact? Mr. Lyte and Ms. McDonald, repeatedly teachers were told by you that the Task Force recommended 40 percent be paid in 2016 and 5 percent for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. How can you move from 40 percent to single digits without the arbitration panel saying this is what can be paid? Teachers need answers,” she said.