Gov’t/ GTU sign agreement on wage increase, other benefits

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The Education Ministry and the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) on Wednesday afternoon signed an agreement to pave the way for salary increases for teachers for 2016 – 2018.

According to the agreement, for 2016, teachers working for below $100,000 will receive 12% while those working for more than $100,000 will receive 8% on the previous December’s salary.

The percentage already paid for 2016 shall form part of the payment received.

For 2017, the interim eight and six percent already paid shall be final.

For 2018, there will be an across the board 8% on the December 2017 salary.

Chief Education Officer (CEO), Marcel Hutson says the agreement is a symbol of a long-term partnership with the union to address any future issues that may arise.

“The signing is symbolic that we intend to have a working relationship with all our stakeholders, all our partners,” Hutson said.

The GTU and the Ministry reached an agreement on October 12, after the Union threatened to go on strike for the second time across the country.

On Wednesday, the CEO said the Ministry “considers the union to be an integral part of what we do at the Ministry of Education, I do not believe we can function without the union.”

According to the document, 100 duty-free concessions will be given to eligible teachers per annum for vehicles up to 1800 cc while all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and outboard engines up to 75Hp will be granted to eligible teachers in the riverain and hinterland areas.

President of the GTU, Mark Lyte and General Secretary of the GTU, Coretta Mcdonald [MoE photo]
It stated that 30 teachers will continue to receive scholarships for a period of four years at the University of Guyana to pursue the Bachelors of Education Programme.

Subject to the availability of resources, the class sizes were also agreed on.

Nursery is set at 15:1, Primary Grades one and two at 20:1, Primary Grades three to six at 25:1 and Secondary at 25:1.

The Ministry and the Union agreed on the implementation of a Housing Revolving Fund.

Additionally, a committee of six persons will be established to prepare a position paper on the granting of houselots to teachers and revolving loan fund.

The agreement states that all Central Executive officers will be released every Wednesday and “from time to time” to perform GTU duties, the President and General Secretary will be released with pay on a full-time basis to serve the membership of the GTU and all General Council Representative, with the relevant approval, shall be released to attend to teachers’ matters.

Teachers will continue to receive approved rates for improved qualifications:

  • Certificate of Education – $4,000
  • Diploma of Education – $6,000
  • Master’s Degree – $10,000
  • Doctoral Degree – $30,000
  • Special Needs Teachers – $10,000

The annual clothing allowance is $8,000 according to the agreement.

“Increases for clothing, station/hardlying, risk and travelling allowances will be considered in line with the review of these allowances for the wider public service,” the Agreement said.

The agreement also covered several non-salary benefits including duty-free concessions, scholarships and Houses.

The Chief Education Officer said he believes “the time is opportune now for us to seriously work together for the benefit of our children in this country and that is moving education forward. We know that we have lots of grounds to cover if we’re going to achieve success in education.”

The two sides agreed that the statutory meeting between the Ministry and the Union will be held on a monthly basis.

Teachers across the country went on strike in the last week of August and the first week of September, forcing several schools to remain close in the first week of the new school year, after the Government said it could not afford salary increases and refused to go to arbitration.

On September 06, the Government agreed to go to arbitration but the process reached another deadlock when the two sides failed to agree to a chair for the arbitration panel.

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