President ‘surprised’ at rejection of new salary proposal for teachers

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Registering his “surprise” at recent grievances expressed by the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), which hinges on a rejection of the government’s latest offer to teachers, President David Granger on Wednesday said he was aback by the inconclusiveness of thlong-runningng disagreement between the Ministry of Education and the GTU.

General Secretary of GTU, Coretta McDonald, has placed on record what she says is teachers’ dissatisfaction and unwillingness to accepthe t government’s new wage offer of 10% for 2016 and 8% for 2018.

But according to Mr. Granger, at the end of Monday’s meeting, there was no talk of a rejection of government’s offer. In fact, the President said there was talk of consultation and not of a “trial by the media.”

The Head of State said at present there are no new proposals put to the government by GTU beyond what was discussed on Monday.

He would not say, although the question was asked twice, whether the government can afford to give teachers more than it has offered.

Mr. Granger told reporters at State House on Wednesday that he was surprised that matters which were assumed settled, such as the process of arbitration, found its way into columns of newspaper on Wednesday.

“We have gone passed conciliation, arbitration and we were at settlement.”

The President said the two sides had an understanding that the government side would go back to the Ministry of Finance to verify the figures and the Union would go back to executives to ratify figures.

“Frankly the list of matters raised in the newspapers today were not matters that were raised on Monday, but they will be addressed if the union raises it again,” he added.

The GTU had met with the Ministry of Education on Friday last and then met with President Granger at State House on Monday. The President is insisting that “matters which were reported in the media were not raised on Monday during the meeting,” assuring that it would have been otherwise resolved.

“When we parted on Monday there was no talk of trial by media; there was talk of verification of figures and seeking assent of executives of GTU,” he insisted.

The GTU is hoping for a follow up meeting where it can make its position known to the government and also push for a reversal of the appointment of the Chairman of the Arbitration Panel and also address the MoE’s warnings of consequences should teachers engage in industrial action.

 

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