“Disingenuous”, “opportunistic” – MoE calls GTU’s protest

…as GTU protesting matters already being addressed

The Education Ministry on Tuesday called out the Guyana Teachers’ Union for being “disingenuous and opportunistic” after it staged protest actions against matters which are already under engagement by both parties.
The GTU, pursuant to a continuous engagement with the Government of Guyana, was invited to a follow-up meeting with the Office of the President scheduled for 09:00h on Tuesday.
The last such meeting was held on May 22, 2023, the Ministry said, adding that the Union accepted the invitation but requested that the meeting be postponed to 15:00h as 09:00h “is too early for the Union.”
The Ministry noted that in the interest of continuing the engagement, it agreed to facilitate such.
However, the Union decided to mount protest action at 10:00h on Tuesday in front of the Finance Ministry, Main and Lamaha Streets, Georgetown, which, according to the Ministry, involved matters that are currently under examination at the aforesaid meetings.
These actions were led by APNU parliamentarian Coretta McDonald.
“The Union is aware that only this week two of the matters raised (clothing allowance and Whitley Council entitlements) in the previous engagements were resolved and only yesterday (Monday) they were copied on correspondence to that effect,” a statement posited.

GTU protest in front of the Finance Ministry

Moreover, the Ministry contended that all of the matters protested about were inherited from the former APNU/AFC Administration.
“All of them are being addressed by this Government in the best way possible and the Union is aware of this. We remind all that it is the PPP/C Government under the Bharrat Jagdeo presidency that engaged the Union continuously resulting in the first and other multi-year agreements being signed by successive PPP/C Administrations,” the Ministry statement read.
Currently, under discussion between the Union and the Government is another multi-year agreement after the last one expired under the former Government.
It includes inter alia duty-free concessions for teachers, scholarships for post-graduate programmes, the housing revolving fund, salary increases, better remote area incentives for teachers in the hinterland, more clerical support at schools, resolution of the 2016 fiasco where salary scales for new teachers were changed, increments for additional qualification and less academic workload on Head Teachers and Deputy Head Teachers, among other incentives.
“Many of these initiatives were proposed by Government because the Government has every interest in making sure teachers are comfortable. There was therefore absolutely no reason for this morning’s protest except to grandstand and claim credit amongst teachers for matters that are well on their way to being realised. The GTU must consider whether it wishes to continuously be used by a failing Opposition member Coretta McDonald or if it wants to work to bring benefits to teachers,” the Ministry contended.
Teachers were assured that while the Government prefers to work with the Union, if that becomes impossible, the interest of teachers will still be paramount and prioritised in the Government’s considerations. This will ensure benefits for each and every teacher. (G12)