As the dispute over teachers’ salaries between the Government and the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) head into arbitration, the Union has assured Teachers that it will try its best to ensure that the process is not prolonged.
The GTU on Friday held a meeting with Teachers at its Woolford Avenue, Georgetown Office, where they were updated about the talks held on Thursday with the Education Ministry.
Given the fact that the arbitration process can take many months to complete, President of the GTU, Mark Lyte assured that he will be pushing for the panel to be given a deadline to complete their work.
“If you have a timeline, then work have to be completed on time,” the Union President said.
Lyte added that “in addition to that, the arbitrators on the panel are persons who will be paid and so they would not want to be going on for a fixed fee for a lengthy period of time.”
He also floated the idea of the arbitration panel including persons out of Guyana.
“We have a few options; we have several affiliates around the Caribbean that we can call upon to be a part of the panel.”
He pointed to the importance of getting a Chairperson who is neutral and can be able to look at what the economy can afford and what teachers deserve.
The challenge he said, “is finding someone who will not be politically influenced, someone that will bring that neutral balance to the team. Of course, from the Government side and other side, you’re going to have persons with their own perspective. The Chairperson being chosen is extremely critical that we have a balance.”
Though it was pointed out that the Government has repeatedly stated it cannot afford an increase, the GTU President said this process will allow independent persons to look at the Government’s finances and determine whether this is so.
Teachers will return to the classrooms on Monday after a countrywide strike which began on August 27.
The strike and subsequent protest actions which began on September 3 left several schools closed for the first four days of the new school term.