GTU President engaged in deception

Dear Editor,
Through reports, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) has learned that Dr Mark Lyte, President of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), from all appearances, is seeking to castigate our Union without any merit for living up to our responsibilities. Such expressions, we learned, were made at a forum of the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) on June 15, 2024. We understand that the GTU President reportedly told his audience that the GAWU signed twelve (12) collective agreements this year. We ask: What is wrong with such achievements? Is it not in our interest to represent our members?
The GAWU remains staunchly committed to safeguarding and advancing the interests of its workers, where it enjoys bargaining rights. The realization of agreements between the Union and employers testify to our work and dedication. We are proud of those achievements and cannot be bothered by attempts to belie our successes. The GAWU has not expressed critical views on the efforts of the GTU or any other union. So why are we singled out by Dr Lyte?
From what we saw, Dr Lyte articulated that our Union has some seeming advantage and attempted to offer a political justification. We find this laughable and downright deceptive. The GAWU has said before and will say again that our successes, whether negotiating with public or private sector employers, are based on our efforts at the bargaining table. There is nothing else, as he wants others to believe in his attempts to mislead.
While the GTU President speaks about collective bargaining, he was mute when GAWU was denied collective bargaining in the sugar industry during the sojourn of the Coalition Government. We also do not recall Dr Lyte or his Union expressing solidarity when thousands of sugar workers were laid off. There was also a conspicuous silence when the sugar workers endured a wage freeze between 2015 and 2020.
The situation was quite the opposite for the GTU, which did not suffer the ignominy meted out to the sugar belt. Rather the GTU regularly engaged in collective bargaining, an opportunity which, as far as we are aware, still remains on the table. Of course, we hasten to remind that collective bargaining is a process that flourishes in an atmosphere of cordiality and respect without the imposition of preconditions.
We remain disappointed in Dr. Lyte’s expressions, who seemingly now seeks to find scapegoats to bolster his performance. We urge our colleague and comrade that rather than attacking, his efforts would be more useful in finding practical solutions to the issues at hand. Harping here and there but not at the bargaining table will do no good.

Guyana Agricultural
and General Workers
Union (GAWU)