Gov’t will defend decision to deduct striking teachers’ salaries in Court – AG


Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, last night said the government will defend its decision to deduct monies from the salaries of the teachers participating in the illegal strike action in court, should a legal challenge be mounted.

Nandlall spoke during his weekly ‘Issues in the News’ programme and the first topic he addressed was the teachers’ strike being led by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU).

The Attorney General, like many of his government colleagues, said the strike action is illegal since talk between the union and the Education Ministry had not broken down. Those talks centered on a proposed multi-year agreement that includes salary increases.

Talks were still ongoing up to a week before the strike.

Further, he noted that Guyana’s constitution says workers have a freedom to strike but that freedom carries “conditionalities” and “burdens.” That simply means that workers can strike but employers can then take necessary actions, such as deducting money from their salaries.

Nandlall said if such provisions didn’t exist, workers could simply choose to strike all year and then claim that any move to deduct their salaries would be unlawful.

“So if the government decides to withhold pay, then the government is perfectly within its right to do so,” he contended.

The GTU already said it intends to legally challenge the government’s intention to deduct money from teachers’ salaries.

Nandlall said the government would defend its actions.

“Any action filed by the union or unions will be defended by the government.”

Since February 05, some teachers have been on strike and the government later issued the notice of intent to deduct money from the salaries.

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.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.