GTU, MoE salary proposal negotiations stalled

Negotiations between the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) on a proposal to see teachers’ salary being increased by 25 per cent, among other demands, have been stalled to ensure that the Ministry fulfils its promises in the last agreement.
This is according to President of the GTU, Mark Lyte. In an interview with this publication on Tuesday, he explained that this decision was made during a conference the GTU held in April from the 23 to 26.
He was keen to note that this is the highest decision-making body for the Union and executives are required to follow these suggestions.
“The position is that the conference which you know is a high decision-making body indicated that we shouldn’t proceed with the talks until we have all the outstanding matters addressed in the present agreement…we are putting our energies and time into ensuring that the few outstanding things are settled and after that we will go full speed ahead in terms of addressing the new proposal,” Lyte stated.
He, nevertheless, assured that the Union and the Ministry have been engaging to ensure the outstanding matters are addressed.
A few of those matters include debunching for teachers and non-payment of clothing allowance.
In addition, the GTU Head said, “We are seeing some implementation of almost every other thing like the class size. We are having some issues with the Whitley Council and its interpretation but that is being addressed with the CEO [Chief Education Officer] presently, where some of the regions are not acting as they should in terms of allowing for the allowance to take effect, so we are addressing that”.
Another issue had to do with the scaling of teachers but that too is being addressed presently, the executive pointed out.
According to him, “The Ministry had to get information from each teacher to know which file they are in and at what stage of the scale they should be placed and that was completed so they are…some of the far-flung regions’ information was slow in coming but they are on course with getting that”.
Lyte said he hopes to have these issues sorted out before the end of this term so that the Union can enter negotiations on the new proposal soon.
Along with a 25 per cent salary increase, the Union has proposed that some of the already existing policies be maintained such as Whitley Council for three years, instead of four, and a few others.
This proposal also requests that grants be given to schools instead of having materials supplied as complaints have been flagged in the past of sub-standard materials and cleaning supplies
In addition to this, the GTU President disclosed that the Union also requested the maintenance of duty-free concessions in the existing categories.
Moreover, the new proposal seeks to extend gratuity for persons leaving the profession before the age of 50 to 55, while the issue of class size for Special Needs Schools was highlighted.