Teachers will be back in the classrooms no later than Monday, September 10 after the Education Ministry and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) agreed to proceed to arbitration.
The two parties were invited to the Ministry of Social Protection’s Department of Labour to resume conciliation talks on Thursday in an effort to resolve the impasse on salary increases for teachers.
Following an almost four-hour meeting, the Education Ministry and the Union signed the Terms of Resumption which stated that the strike action will be called off immediately, all teachers should be at work no later than Monday, there shall be no victimization on either side and no loss of seniority or pay.
Waiting outside the Ministry of Social Protection, Teachers who protested in front of the Education Ministry’s Brickdam office over the past four days, gathered to celebrate the matter going to arbitration –something which they supported since the breakdown in talks.
President of the GTU, Mark Lyte, told the media that a multi-year proposal will be made at the arbitration level but the timeline, Chairperson and Terms of Reference for the arbitration panel will be determined on Tuesday.
Education Minister, Nicolette Henry on Wednesday said a revised offer will be placed on the table for the salary increase but Lyte told the media that “no offer was put on the table.”
Teachers represented by the Union decided to strike after the Government failed to honour its request for a 40% across the board salary increase.
Following the opening of the new school term on Monday, the Teachers took to the streets demanding a ‘livable’ wage as the union said it is willing to accept less in the first year and 5% thereafter in accordance with its multi-year agreement.
This action left several schools closed for the first four days of the new school year and hundreds of students sent home.
The GTU had said that some 4,000 teachers were on strike.