Last Updated on Friday, 27 October 2017, 14:18 by Denis Chabrol
In the wake of a decision by the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) to call a strike after salary negotiations collapsed, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said the offer so far is “interim” and President David Granger wants to meet with union representatives next Monday.
“The Honorable Minister of State further indicated that the meeting with the Minister of Education held on October 26, 2017 was never intended to be the final position of the Administration but rather an interim arrangement,” the two sides said in a joint statement.
The talks broke down Thursday after Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry told GTU President Mark Lyte and other representatives that teachers are public servants and they would be paid the same increases ranging from eight percent to half a percent as has been granted to public servants.
That announcement almost immediately sparked off a twice weekly strike call from next week Thursday and Friday.
However, Harmon said that offer is ” interim” and Granger wants to meet with GTU officials next Monday to iron out all remaining issues.
Following is the full text of the joint statement issued by the GTU and government.
A meeting was held today Friday October 27, 2017 between the Executive of the Guyana Teachers’ Union and the Honorable Minister of State to discuss the Union’s concerns about the lack of progress with regard to negotiations of salary increases and other non-salary benefits for its members.
The Union alluded to a meeting held with the Hon. Minister of Education in which its concern regarding the status of salary increases for teachers which was proposed since December 2015 was not being seriously addressed; and that the pronouncements by the Hon. Minister of Education at the meeting were at variance with the Union’s understanding of the Government’s approach to the matter.
The Honorable Minister of State in response alluded to his most recent pronouncement on the matter at a Post Cabinet Media Conference held on October 19, 2017 when he indicated that the issues regarding increased salaries for teachers were being considered by the Government in the form of a Multi-Year Proposal submitted by the Guyana Teachers’ Union.
The Honorable Minister of State further indicated that the meeting with the Minister of Education held on October 26, 2017 was never intended to be the final position of the Administration but rather an interim arrangement.
The Honorable Minister also indicated that His Excellency the President was very concerned about the reports regarding the outcome of the meeting between the Union and the Ministry of Education and had signaled his willingness to meet with the Union on Monday October 30, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. to discuss all matters of concern to the Union.
The Union indicated its acceptance of His Excellency, the President’s offer and iterated that it was committed to the process of Collective Bargaining and that it would bring these developments to the attention of its members.