Teachers to intensify strike with street protests from next week – GTU President

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Over the last two days, some teachers participated in a countrywide strike called by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and on Friday, Union President Dr. Mark Lyte said the strike will intensify in the new week.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Lyte said the strike will be accompanied by protest.

He claimed that some 60 per cent of teachers participated in the strike on Thursday and Friday but those figures were earlier contested by Ministry of Education officials who reported that the majority of teachers were in their classrooms attending to students.

“In the new week, we will have the strike accompanied by protest action.

“We will be very strategic this time around to ensure that there is proper balance between the strike effort and the protest,” Lyte said.

As such, the protest will only take place two days of next week at various locations.

“So come Monday, our teachers who are on strike will be protesting at various locations of importance with the hope that we can garner the attention of the administration,” he said.

Lyte maintained that a significant number of teachers were participating in the strike.

“At this juncture, a very critical time in the academic year, the GTU is cognisant of the importance of education and we are similarly aware of our members plight and struggle,” Lyte explained.

Highlighting that the union stands by the High Court ruling that the strike is legal, Lyte said they have since responded to a letter from Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Shanielle Hoosein-Outar, reiterating that they are ready to engage in talks.

The Ministry has said that those talks can only address financial matters from 2024 and beyond but the union insists that it must deal with 2019 to 2023 period also.

“We recognise that some of our teachers will stand with us and some will not but at the end of the day, the benefits that will come with our action will go to all educators who are equally affected,” Lyte further noted.

An initial five-week strike began on February 5, with teachers demanding higher salary increases and duty-free concessions, among other benefits.

After a court-mediated process in March, talks between the Education Ministry and GTU resumed.

However, discussions halted when the Education Ministry indicated that there was no fiscal space to cater for increases for the period 2019 -2023.

On April 19, a court ruling by Judge Sandil Kissoon stated that teachers’ salaries should not be reduced because of their involvement in the previous five-week strike organised by the GTU. That ruling will soon be appealed; the government currently awaits the written decision of Justice Kissoon before the appeal is filed.

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1 Comment
  1. Premchand Baijnauth says

    The Judge cannot put it in writing because he will have to explain what part and articles he has based his ruling on because there is no such law in the Guyana constitution which says if you strike you must be paid. This Judge is causing confusion in his rulings. The same way he ruled about unlimited insurance. Which country in the world if you strike you must be paid and where do you unlimited insurance?

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