‘Feasible’ timeline agreed on for teachers’ arbitration process

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The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) says it has agreed on a “feasible” timeline for the conclusion of the arbitration process which will settle salary increases for teachers.

The Union and the Education Ministry on Tuesday met at the Ministry of Social Protection’s Department of Labour to decide on the Terms of Reference that will govern the process.

Mark Lyte, President of the Union, said a timeline was agreed on. He told reporters following Tuesday’s meeting that “the union had indicated a specific timeline and we’ll work with a shorter time than that.

“The timeline that we have agreed on so far is feasible.”

The Union sought to set a timeline on the process given concerns raised by its members that the process can be prolonged.

The two parties were, however, unable to conclude the Terms of Reference owing to two clauses the union described as “loose.”

“We need to have them (the terms) further tightened in order for the tribunal to actually have a tight rein in terms of what they’re looking at.

“So the union is saying that we have to look at the history of part of what obtained prior to this year’s multi-year agreement… and also indicating what the evidence should include that will be brought to the table,” Lyte explained.

The Union representatives will be consulting with its members before the next meeting at the Labour Department.

Following a two-week strike action over wage increases and widespread protests which left several schools closed for the first four days of the new school term, public school teachers returned to the classrooms on Monday.

The Union proposed a 40% increase for teachers for the year 2016 and then five percent for 2017 to 2020.

The Government, however, said it cannot afford the increase without making a counterproposal—leading to an impasse.

The two sides decided last week to go to arbitration where a panel of professionals will determine what is feasible.

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