Jagdeo urges teachers to return to classrooms until court action is determined


Confident that the High Court will rule in favour of the government’s decision to deduct monies from the salaries of striking teachers, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday encouraged those educators who continue to strike to return to work soonest.

The ongoing strike and daily protest by teachers across the country is rounding out to four weeks and while there is a conservatory order preventing the government from cutting the salaries of striking teachers, Jagdeo said based on case law this will not stand forever.

And so he fears that the consequences will be harsher for those teachers who have failed to show up to work for the last month.

“We will continue to collect information of those absenting themselves from the classroom.

“My fear is that teachers are being misled into believing that the matter is resolved.

“The matter will be will be determined in favour of the principle… and then deductions will be harsher for teachers,” Jagdeo reasoned.

So, what is this principle he speaks of?

Jagdeo said there is an established principle, proven and determined by regional courts, that people will not be paid if they do not work.

Jagdeo said people should not believe that the action, filed by the Guyana Teachers’ Union, is determined. He reminded that the two orders granted by the court is only temporary.

While no deductions will be done pending the determination of the case, Jagdeo said the PPP/C government received advice from a number of lawyers, indicating that the laws of Guyana do not support the principle where you don’t work, under the guise of a strike, and you will be paid.

“Laws confirm if you don’t work you will not be paid,” Jagdeo said as he noted a historical case before the Privy Council which upheld the principle of no work, no pay.

“Explicitly put by the highest court for many Caribbean jurisdictions,” he added.

Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo and General Secretary of the GTU, Coretta McDonald.

And so he urged teachers not to be misled and to return to the classrooms until the matter before the court is determined.

On Wednesday, Chief Education Officer (CEO), Saddam Hussain was forced to withdraw a memo regarding the salaries of striking teachers; Hussain risked being charged with contempt of court.

High Court Judge Sandil Kissoon, last week, 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.

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.

The Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), through attorney Darren Wade, in a fixed date application filed on February 16, sought to quash the government’s actions which they deemed as discriminatory and a breach and violation of key rights.

1 Comment
  1. Derk says

    Why can,t the Guyana Teachers Union and the teachers learn from the junior doctors strike in the UK.
    These doctors did not just walk away and stand on the streets ! The vice president is correct when he called for teachers to return to work .

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