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Teachers demand GUY$200 million or work-to-rule from Monday

Teachers on the May Day 2015 parade.

The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) on Friday- May Day 2015- warned that teachers would from Monday refuse to perform duties that are not strictly required unless government finds GUY$200 million to pay teachers in accordance with a new salary scale.

GTU General Secretary, Coretta Mc Donald told Demerara Waves Online News that the union decided to embark on a work-to-rule after government stretched out negotiations until finally saying that the coffers did not have any money to pay the teachers because a National Budget has not been passed for the year. “We know that monies usually come from all over and we are hoping that there are some monies there stashed somewhere that teachers can get,” she said.

Mc Donald also hoped that in the interim businesses could help bail out the government until the National Budget is approved by the National Assembly. The passage of a National Budget has been stalled by an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion in the government that has been since overtaken by the dissolution of the Parliament and general elections next week.

She assured that students would be taught during the work-to-rule action, but warned that the industrial unrest could escalate after general and regional elections are held on May 11, 2015.

After eight years of consideration and discussion, the two sides concluded an agreement on the amounts to be paid but now Office of the President says there is no money allocated to pay them. “We were going back and forth and, off course, we were promised that we would have gotten the money and we took that for granted that the monies would have been paid to teachers,” he said.

Mc Donald expressed concern that the GTU and teachers were misled into believing that they would have been paid. “If, while we were talking, all of these factors were thrown on the table, we would have had a better approach,” she said.

De-bunching, she explained, is a method that has been used to ensure that recently appointed teachers and their seniors are not at the same level.

Asked why she believed that industrial action would change anything if the government maintains that it has no cash on hand to pay the 13,000 odd teachers across ten country emoluments that are due to them, Mc Donald was confident that government could find the funds or borrow from the private sector.

The take-home salary for a trained teacher is about GUY$48,000.