President intervenes to break deadlock between GTU, Education Ministry
President David Granger Monday morning met with executive members of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) and Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, in an effort to break the protracted deadlock between the two sides on the way forward for arbitration.
“We have had some hiccups but we now seem to be coming to the end of the road.
“There seems to be wide areas of what I would say common acceptance of what needs to be done,” the President was quoted by his office as saying.
The President called the meeting as the country’s major unions backed the teachers and said they would support another countrywide strike if the Government refused to budge on its dogged stance regarding the chairman of the arbitration panel.
The teacher’s Union had said they were being bullied by the Government into accepting University of Guyana professor Leyland Lucas as the chair of the arbitration panel.
The President’s office said Minister Henry had a long meeting on Friday with the Union and all of the points that were at issue between the two sides were discussed.
The two sides would meet again on Wednesday, October 10.
“The intention is to create a basis for an agreement between the two sides as early as possible, possibly by Friday,” President Granger said.
President Granger noted that it is important for the Government and the Union to work to complete this process since it is aware that the teachers have expectations. He noted that the teachers can be assured that the Government is concerned about the issues raised and is working to address these.
“They are not being ignored or anything.
“We, of course, expect that the Teachers’ Union consult with its members and the Teachers’ Union expects that we, the Government, consult with the Ministry of Finance.
“So, we have reached a broad area in which, I would say that there is common ground. I don’t want to call it an agreement but we have reached common ground and I think the people of Guyana could look forward to an amicable resolution within days.
“It is a forward-looking agreement,” the President said.
The meeting was attended on the Government’s side by Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson, Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education Adele Clarke and Human Resources Manager, at the Ministry of Education Jacqueline Simon. The GTU was represented by President Mark Lyte, General Secretary Coretta McDonald and other executives.