Justice Kissoon’s decision implies that the GTU may have prematurely called strike

As a concerned citizen deeply invested in the fabric of our educational system and the well-being of our nation’s children, I find myself compelled to address the recent actions taken by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU).
The decision to initiate a strike, now extending over 25 days, has not only disrupted the educational journey of countless students but also raised serious questions about the adherence to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that governs the relationship between the GTU and the government.
Justice Sandil Kissoon’s recent order for mediation between the Ministry of Education and the GTU highlights a critical point: the possibility that the GTU may have prematurely called for a strike, thereby breaching the CBA.
Such actions undermine the very foundation of trust and negotiation upon which our labor relations are built. The legal framework and agreements like the CBA exist precisely to prevent such impasses and ensure that disputes are resolved through dialogue and mutual understanding, not through actions that ultimately harm our students and our future.
While I understand and fully support the right of teachers to advocate for fair wages and working conditions, the path to such outcomes must be navigated with adherence to the agreed-upon processes.
The government contends that negotiations were underway, with some agreements already being implemented. This begs the question:
Why resort to a strike when channels of negotiation were still open?
The GTU’s actions, as presented, suggest a departure from the principle of good faith negotiation. It is imperative for the GTU to provide a clear and transparent rationale for their decision to strike, especially considering the potential breach of the CBA. The education of our children and the stability of our nation’s future should not be jeopardized by premature or unjustified actions.
As mediation begins, I urge both the GTU and the Ministry of Education to approach the table with openness, honesty, and a commitment to finding solutions that prioritize the well-being of our students and the integrity of our educational system.

Ryan Newton