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Teachers Union grappling with its own unity issues

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015, 20:59 by GxMedia

Disgruntled GTU member, Milne Seymour with his placard on May Day 2014.

Even as disunity continues in the larger trade union movement, the Guyana Teachers Union’s new executive is taking a neutral stand by refusing to associate with either of the two federations.

Under its newly elected president, Mark Lyte, the GTU’s contingent continued the practice of branching off at Woolford Avenue and Albert Streets and heading to its headquarters for its meeting and social activities. Lyte hoped that approach would change in the future. “Hopefully, in the future we could work to have a collaborative effort with the union but we don’t know what the agenda is,”  he said.gtu 2014

The GTU remains an affiliate of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) but appears to participate minimally in that federation’s activities.

During Thursday’s May Day Parade, the GTU contingent stayed far behind contingents of GTUC and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG).

The GTUC President also hopes to address protracted concerns by union member, Milne Seymour, who had been suspended by the last executive not to participate in decision-making meetings of the union because he had challenged a previous union election at which then President, Colin Bynoe and his executive had been victorious.

“I would be willing to look at it to see what is it that is happening between the union and Mr. Seymour. I have spoken with him so that we can have further dialogue along with myself and the executive to bring some sort of understanding on that issue,” Lyte said.

Seymour, dressed in a black outfit to mourn the death of efficient union administration, maintained that he was still being ostracized although he was in good financial standing.  Unlike another union official, who is before the court for an alleged sexual offence, Seymour said there was no valid reason to shut him out of the halls of decision-making. “Mr King who is in front of the High Court for statutory rape is allowed to hold positions in the union and I can’t so I wanted to highlight the hypocrisy.

“Is the union saying that being accused of sexual molestation is a lesser crime than challenging an election? I wore black because I am mourning the death of my rights and by extension the death of my union,” he said.

Seymour recalled writing the GTU General Secretary on Holy Thursday telling her that he was desirous of appealing his matter at the recently held delegates conference but so far he has not received an acknowledgment.