Jagdeo flags GTU’s request for 20% increase during ‘COVID’ as unfair


As the Ministry of Education and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) resume negotiations on several issues including those related to wages and salaries, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has flagged the Union’s request for a 20 per cent increase during the COVID-19 period when many schools were closed.

The Vice President spoke during a People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) press conference on Thursday at the party’s Freedom House, Georgetown headquarters.

According to him, the ongoing talks include negotiations for increases that go back to 2017, when the former APNU+AFC administration was in office.

He pointed out that the Union is also asking for the 20 per cent increase for teachers during the March 2020 to March 2022 period when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of schools and there were varying arrangements for teaching.

The Vice President reminded reporters that the majority of teachers did not go into classrooms during this period, even with a phased approach to reopening schools.

“When you talk about fairness, you should look at all of these variables,” Dr. Jagdeo, who is the General Secretary of the PPP/C, said on Thursday.

He, however, noted that the government’s position vis-a-vis wages and salary increases will be outlined during the engagement between the Union and the Education Ministry during their Thursday meeting.

GTU officials went to the Education Ministry’s Brickdam, Georgetown office on Thursday at 10:00 hrs for the resumption of talks.

This follows a mediation process ordered by High Court Judge Sandil Kissoon, which led to the government and the GTU agreeing on the return of striking teachers to their classrooms on or before Wednesday, March 06.

Some teachers went on strike on February 05, abandoning their classrooms and ongoing talks at the time for daily street protests which spanned five weeks.

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