The Guyana Teachers Union on Wednesday said it has rejected with no uncertain terms Ministers Keith Scott and Amna Ally’s decision of imposing Dr. Leyland Lucas to chair arbitration between the GTU and Ministry of Education. The Union is also calling on Dr. Lucas to recuse himself from the appointment so that the arbitration process can move forward. This was disclosed by President of the Guyana Teachers Union, Mark Lyte at the Union’s headquarter on Woolford Avenues.
In solidarity with the GTU and present at the briefing were, the Federation of Independent Trade Union of Guyana (FITUG) and the Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC).
The president noted that after one meeting between the GTU and Ministry, there was a deadlock and that the Minister of Labor was chosen to nominate a person to chair the arbitration. However, the Minister responsible for Labor, arbitrarily appointed a chairperson without bringing the person as a nominee.
At last week’s meeting between the two sides, the Minister was given seven days to rescind the appointment, however, that has not been done. The Union noted that a neutral person should be appointed based on nomination and considerations by both sides.
As such, the union will be proceeding on industrial strike action. The President did not say when the strike will begin, but, noted that it will be bigger than the last one, since they now have the support of other unions pledging whatever support is needed, including physical support. Strike actions are usually the last cause, but due to the fact that the government is not budging on its stance to rescind Dr. Lucas’s appointment, they have no choice.
“I am of the view that there is some sinister plan afoot to thwart the process and not to allow fairness and equity to prevail,” Lyte noted.
He told Daily News that should the Ministry take legal action if teachers strike again, then they are prepared to walk the steps of the court.
The union has been struggling since 2015 after they proposed their multi-year agreement to the government for the period 2016-2020. There is no consensus to date between the two sides, specifically to salary increases.
In 2015, the administration promised all workers across Guyana, collective bargaining and that it should be respected…many before have fought with their lives to ensure that the rights of workers are respected, Lyte noted.
Lyte is calling on all its members and the members of the other unions to help them in their mobilization cause as they seek to better the working conditions of teachers.