From day one, GTU was aware teachers’ salaries would be deducted for illegal strike


The Ministries of Education and Local Government on Monday issued an official notice of intent to deduct money from the salaries of thousands of teachers who are on strike, a move that the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) was aware could happen.

GTU’s General Secretary Coretta McDonald, appearing on the picket line in front of the Ministry of Education on the first day of the strike, was questioned about the possible deductions of teachers’ salaries.

“Let me say to them, that’s good news for us because corporate sponsors out there have already pledged to us that they will reimburse our teachers so go ahead, deduct the teacher’s money but you know you’re going to be doing there? You are going to be instilling even more radicalism in our teachers when you deduct their money,” McDonald said.

The Ministry of Education and the GTU have been engaging since 2020 on a proposed multi-year agreement that demands salary increases and duty-free concessions, among other things. The GTU believes talks have broken down and the process should move to arbitration but the Education Ministry and the Labour Ministry maintain that talks are still ongoing.

Guyana Teacher’s Union General Secretary, Coretta McDonald

Since last Monday, February 05, some teachers have been on strike. Because the government deemed this an illegal strike, the notice of intent was issued.

The notice indicated that lists were submitted from all 11 education districts stating the names of those teachers who did not report for duty and did not receive the necessary leave and or permission to be absent.

“This unauthorized absence constitutes a breach of their conditions of service and their statutory duties and attracts legal sanctions,” the notice read.

This means that the teachers on strike would not be paid for the days they were absent. The deductions would be reflected in their March 2024 salaries.

Further, those teachers who have been absent for more than three days can be recommended to the Teaching Service Commission for dismissal.

The GTU has since issued a statement, calling the move “undemocratic” and promising to challenge it in Court. The Union’s President Mark Lyte on Monday said the Union is ready to extend the strike until their demands are met.

The Union was reportedly aware that these sanctions were possible.

  1. habeeb says

    This union is poorly representing the teachers, who are public servants, they work for the Government in teaching our children. The union is after the dues that teachers pay- to live off the sweat of the teachers.
    Now, that will also not be paid (deducted by Govt) and the unauthorized absented days not being a teacher in schools. They also get paid during school closing for summer and any national holiday, providing they are not absent the prior day of a legal holiday, and the day after.

    1. Don A Gomes says

      GTU gone over the political divide.The Government of Guyana will not subscribe to being bullied.
      The GTU is calling out teachers just to remain REVELANT as a union representative.
      Where is the consideration for the school children for the two weeks of announced striking? And now GTU wish to carry on this illegal protest/ strike beyond 2 weeks?
      How do you figure that out?
      The Government will act within the LAW and win.
      So get down to returning to the bargaining table and work out a win-win situation.

  2. Premchand Baijnauth says

    Extend the classrooms to bout 20 children and eliminate the striking teachers. During my days in school there were about 25 to 30 students in a class and almost all of them excels at their exams. get rid of the strikers and let them go and find alternatives. Stop this lawlessness now.

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