President Ali ‘committed’ to better salaries, welfare of teachers


Teachers and all other workers will benefit from better salaries and more measures meant to guarantee their welfare, President Dr. Irfaan Ali said on Thursday night as he ushered in Guyana’s 54th Republic Anniversary.

The President gave his address at the Public Buildings, Brickdam, Georgetown. He was surrounded by members of government, members of the disciplined services, the diplomatic corps and other stakeholders.

He spoke about Guyana’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, his government’s development plan and key social issues during his Presidential address.

The flag-raising ceremony for Guyana’s 54th Republic Anniversary (Photo: News Room/ Jeremy Jagroop/ February 22, 2024)

In doing so, he reiterated the promise made to teachers before and during their ongoing strike action. That promise is that his administration will work diligently to safeguard their welfare and eventually raise their salaries higher.

“In the next three and a half years, we’ll see the expansion of our economy, and with that will come better conditions of work, better conditions for our farmers, more investment in our human resource potential, and, of course, more investment in the welfare, salaries, and conditions for all the people of our country.

“This is the commitment of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government and this is my commitment to the people of this country,” the Head of State said.

The flag-raising ceremony for Guyana’s 54th Republic Anniversary (Photo: News Room/ Jeremy Jagroop/ February 22, 2024)

Further, he urged Guyanese to reflect on the commitments already fulfilled during his time in office. So far, he posited that he and his government have been fulfilling all commitments made.

Teachers across the country have been participating in industrial action organised by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) since February 5 as they demand higher salary increases and duty-free concessions, among other entitlements.

The GTU believes talks have broken down and the process should move to arbitration but the Education and Labour Ministries maintain that talks are still ongoing. Following strike action, which the government deemed illegal since talks have not broken down, a decision was made to cut the salaries of teachers absent from work and stop the deduction of union dues from their salaries.

Through court action, the GTU sought a total of 18 reliefs; the union is alleging a breach of their right to freedom of association and assembly; their right to protection from deprivation of property; and their right to be heard before determining that it will cease the practice of performing as an agent of the union to deduct union dues from the wages and salaries of teachers.

On Thursday, High Court Judge Sandil Kissoon granted two conservatory orders preventing the government from cutting the salaries of striking teachers and also blocking the decision to discontinue the deduction of union dues from their salaries. Guyana’s Attorney General Anil Nandlall SC said this was an “unfortunate” move but the orders remain in place until a determination is made in the substantive hearing of the matter which is now set for March 20, 2024.

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