Teachers met to discuss better pay and working conditions, Govt wants to talk about its grievances

The Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) met Thursday in the Ministry’s boardroom based on Agreement the two sides hammered out in Court on Monday, March 4. That Agreement said the two sides will meet within 48-hours after the teachers returned to work by March 6.

At that meeting both sides came to the table with difference issues.

Some of the matters the GTU identified for discussion are:

a. The salary matters included in the multi-year proposal 2019-2023

b. The 2% difference in salary for 2017 and 2018

c. The clothing allowance increase

d. Whitley Council being paid every 3 years

On the other hand the MoE, in a statement said, the issues it identified for discussion are teacher absenteeism and punctuality, poor performing schools, continuous professional education, completion of syllabus.

Village Voice News sought a comment from Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) General Secretary, Mr. Lincoln Lewis on the matters raised by the ministry.

Lewis said the issues the government tabled, whilst relevant to the working environment, are outside the purview of negotiating a Collective Labour Agreement.

According to the veteran trade unionist, “issues of these nature are considered grievances that can be raised within the purview of what is considered a general question in industrial relations.”

The government said during the meeting, both sides identified 27 issues to be tabled for discussion. Following this, the two teams agreed on the order in which the matters will be addressed.

The first issue tabled for discussion was the establishment of a Terms of Reference for the meetings.

According to the government after deliberations, it was agreed there will not be a signed Terms of Reference, “however, both parties agreed that at the end of each meeting, two (2) representatives of each negotiation team and two (2) witnesses will sign the minutes.”

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at 09:30am in the Ministry’s Boardroom.

The MoE was represented by the 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 Resources Manager, Ms. Jacqueline Simon, and Mr. Kerwin Jacobs, Senior Education Officer.

GTU was represented by its President Dr. Mark Lyte, General Secretary, Ms. Coretta McDonald Ms. Mariska Williams, Mr. Julian Cambridge, 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