Teachers, public servants’ salary increases are not the same- Granger

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 September 2016, 16:37 by Denis Chabrol

President David Granger on Thursday said that the proposed salary increase, which had been put forward to the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) for 2016, is not the same for the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU).

The President was quoted  in a statement issued by the Ministry of the Presidency as saying that the two negotiations are separate.

“It is not my view that the GTU negotiations were part of the negotiations with GPSU.  I would have expected a separate arrangement to be made and I would say that the actual agreement between the Ministry of Education and Guyana Teachers Union should be something which should be kept separate from the GPSU negotiations. We, as the government accept, we acknowledge [and] we observe the collective bargaining agreement and that is how the GPSU agreement was arrived at in the first place…,” President Granger said.

The President said that the payment, when made, is simply a preliminary one, even as the negotiations between the Unions and the Government continue.

“Even with regard to the GPSU the agreement, it’s not a final agreement. The Government of Guyana is still in engagement with the GPSU, so if it’s not final for GPSU, it can’t be final for GTU,” he said.

During the recording of the Ministry of the Presidency’s weekly programme, ‘The Public Interest’, earlier today, the President, in response to questions on whether he would have received correspondence from the Guyana Teacher’s Union on the matter and whether he had engaged the Union, said that he had indeed received the Union’s letter but he believes that the Union should first engage at a Ministerial level with the Ministers in the Ministry of Social Protection.

“As far as the trade union is concerned, yes I have received a letter and I have a Ministry of Social Protection and I would urge that the trade unions engage the Ministers first. It would be imprudent for me to overrule or override or try to deal with the unions without first giving the Minister responsible [a chance to engage]; and they are two Ministers in that Ministry. So it is important for the Trade Unions to engage her first and of course, the Minister who has specific responsibility for industrial relations,” the Head of State posited.

President Granger said that conciliation was not necessary at this time, as he noted that talk between the Union and the government were not discontinued. He cited the fact that there is a menu of measures which have not yet been exhausted. He noted that because of Government’s preparation of the 2017 Budget, talks between the Unions and the Government needed to have reached a certain point by September so that a budget could be prepared, civil servants could get what’s due to them in terms of retroactive pay and talks could have been continued.