Last Updated on Thursday, 24 November 2022, 14:32 by Denis Chabrol
The Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) on Thursday begged government for an increase in salaries, even as it welcomed an increase in the minimum salaries for police, fire fighters and soldiers.
Reacting to President Irfaan Ali’s announced upward adjustment of salary scales for those Disciplined Services, the GTU said the police and fire service officers have every right to be elated and so do teachers and other public servants.
“Teachers undergo far more training and rigorous studies to attain the status of Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, Head of Department etc. It is time President Ali engage the Guyana Teachers’ Union to fix the salary issues affecting the nation’s educators,” the union said in a statement.
One week after announcing an eight percent across-the-board salary increase for 2022 retroactive to January, the President on Thursday said the salary scales for police, firefighters and soldiers have been adjusted to increase the minimum salaries for a number of categories. The minimum salary for a constable is now $102,488, a firefighter $110,000 and a private $102,488.
He said those salary scale adjustments would take effect from January 2023 and would be in addition to the 8 percent for 2022.
The GTU those increases should be welcomed by all civic minded individuals who understand the importance of service officers to Guyana. The union added that “better salary for public officers should reduce the level of corruption in public offices and raise standard of living.”
Meanwhile, the Office of the Leader of the Opposition frowned on the increased salaries for the Disciplined Services. “That the PPP/C can stand up and say to the nation that a police officer with over ten long years of experience should only be paid $115,000 dollars a month is unbelievable. Clearly they do not respect the hard work that policemen and women do every day in service of our nation,” Mr Aubrey Norton’s office said in an initial reaction to the President’s announcement.
The Opposition Leader’s office said the Guyana government could afford to pay workers more because it has sufficient money in its coffers. “Given the government budget ballooned by nearly 50% this year, the miserly increases that have been proposed across the different categories and ranks of police officers are unacceptable,” it said.
Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh has said that government could only afford 8 percent salary across-the-board based on inflation and other factors.