Jagdeo optimistic of ‘serious progress’ in talks between Teachers’ Union, Education Ministry

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Engagements between the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and the Ministry of Education continue with both sides hopeful of an end to the lengthy teachers’ strike and Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo is optimistic that serious progress has been made thus far.

Engagements between the two sides this week ended in a stalemate after three hours of talks. GTU President Mark Lyte, however, told reporters that there was some progress made.

Commenting on the discussions, Jagdeo said the process seems to be moving forward.

“The Ministry and the Union had some recent good engagements, an exchange of letters, and I think we are moving forward and hopefully we will get back to the table.

“I’ve seen some serious progress being made,” the Vice President said at Thursday’s press conference held at the Office of the President in Georgetown.

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

Lyte this week indicated that the union has ‘flexed’ and is now looking at increases for the years 2022 to 2023. The position, he said, is the final one which will be maintained by the union.

Meanwhile, Jagdeo reminded reporters that the government, since 2020, has met some of the union’s requests and it remains willing to discuss increases for 2024 and the years ahead.

He also reminded those at the press conference that the government does not agree with the recent High Court ruling about teachers’ right to strike and is appealing the decision.

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