Edu. Ministry says committed to talks with teachers after union abandons meeting


The Ministry of Education says it remains committed to discussions on improving the welfare of teachers with representatives of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) even as the union has been accused of abandoning bilateral engagements on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s ‘walk out’ is the second time in weeks that the union has chosen to arbitrarily end ongoing negotiations on a slew of matters to improve teachers welfare.

The union seems stuck on insisting that the government addresses, as a lone priority, salary increases for the period 2019 to 2023 – two years of which teachers were out of the classrooms because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the Ministry of Education says it is willing to discuss all matters, including salary increases, though it has not totally agreed with the multi-year proposal of the GTU.

GTU President Mark Lyte during the engagement with Education Ministry officials (Photo: Ministry of Education/ March 12, 2024)

The government’s team is willing to engage the union on pay increases for 2024 and numerous other matters that would improve the overall welfare of teachers.

The ministry believes that the union’s decision to walk out of a meeting on Tuesday was not a show of good faith for bonafide negotiations.

At the meeting, the Ministry of Education was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Shannielle Hoosein-Outar; Chief Education Officer, Saddam Hussain; Deputy Chief Education Officer, Marti DeSouza; Deputy Chief Education Officer- Admin, Tiffany Harvey; the Ministry’s Human Resource Manager, Jacqueline Simon; and Senior Education Officer, Kerwin Jacobs.

Officials from the Minsityr of Education and Guyana Teachers’ Union in talks (Photo: Ministry of Education/ March 12, 2024)

On the other side, the GTU was represented by its President, Mark Lyte; General Secretary, Coretta McDonald; and other members: Mariska Williams, Heathcliff Peters, Sumanta Alleyne, Collis Nicholson, Donnette D’Andrade, Rabindrauth Boodram, Colin Bynoe, Deoraj Nauth, Sergio Joseph, and Vanessa Kissoon.

A release from the Ministry of Education noted that both sides reached an impasse since the GTU representatives indicated that they are only interested in discussing salaries, particularly between the period of 2019 – 2023 and nothing else.

“The meeting was chaired by Mrs. Hoosein-Outar who upheld the Government’s position that discussions surrounding salary increases should be from 2024 onwards.

“She explained that increases for the prior years would have financial implications, and that the 2024 budget does not have the fiscal space to accommodate the retroactive payment of salaries for teachers during the period 2019 – 2023.

“Mrs. Hoosein-Outar asked the Union’s representatives to submit to the Ministry a proposal which would capture their request for a multiyear agreement commencing 2024,” the release said.

It also noted that there are 25 other measures that were identified by both sides for discussion.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.