Home Letters The GTU is fighting for itself, and not for teachers
At first glance, the nationwide strike — I’d rather call it a nationwide disruption — is a self-interest exercise for which there are servile attendants. Let it not slip from our gaze that most of the demands the hierarchy in the union are clamouring for are for themselves, and not for the teachers; therefore, I ask the teachers to be well aware of this. A union, if it is worth its salt, ought to be seeking out better deals for a paying membership, and not for itself; that is the sole purpose of a union.
That is not happening, and for that same reason, the Government has refused to deduct union dues on behalf of the GTU. The Government is saying in pellucid language, “We cease to be the collection agency for a union that thinks only of its executive, and not of the wider good of the teachers.
Collect your own money, the Government would not be facilitator for a lopsided, heavily political agitator acting under cover of a union. It will not happen!”
It is now public knowledge that the ongoing disruption has all the hallmarks of a union that has finally come out of the woodwork to show its real self; it is all about “us”, and not really “them”. The teachers, for their own part, have been duped into believing that they could earn a windfall by creating confusion in the economy, so they’ve opted to sympathize with the union, and like I said in a previous article, those who are not in the picket line have been forced to stay at home for fear of vindictive reprisals.
A heavily politicised union is flexing its muscle as its executive members usually do on a turf that is familiar to them, the Public Service.
But instead of supporting them, teachers should distance themselves from the leadership of this misleading union, because there is more to be had from a caring Government than from a self-centred union.
What teachers must face up to is that wherever the PNC hold sway, there is a penchant for disruptive behaviour. This is evident in every sphere of their existence. Nothing can be clearer than the duplicitous nature of the party of Coretta McDonald as a parliamentary representative. Throughout its history, teachers have been underpaid and exploited by the PNC, and never, for one instance, did they take strike action. The brutal coercion the PNC had over its Public Servants kept them terrifyingly quiet. Others hurriedly ran for cover in other jurisdictions, to earn a decent, livable wage.
Compare that treatment to what exists today under a PPP/C Government and you would see a caring and considerate Government at work. I would not be naive to say that not much ground is still yet to be covered; yes, there is, but Rome was not built in a day, neither should one sector be disproportionately enriched over and above another. We must all develop symbiotically.
But let us take a quick look at the glaring abnormal situation that was our lot before the PPP/C came to office. In the first phase (1992) The PPP/C had to build a country after 28 years of mismanagement and corruption. The period 2015-2020 saw a reintroduction of the PNC under the facade of a coalition, raising their salaries and emoluments by 50% and leaving the teachers in the cold. Again, they continued in the same vein, placing teachers’ issues on a back burner. Teachers were so ashamed and embarrassed that they were forced to turn for help to the same Jagdeo they are now maligning.
This same pattern of behaviour is symptomatic of every organization they hold “control over,” whether it be Government or civic organization. I pause here to make mention of IDPADA-G, who cannot, to this day, give a sensible audited account of its spending. Even more glaring is the GTU, who are now called out in the public domain to show proof of their vast income and no expenditure. So, amid your raucous cries for more money, we ask you to show your stewardship of that which you have collected.
The point I am making is that the GTU must come to the negotiating table with clean hands. I say clean hands where teachers should be the beneficiaries, and not the usual posturing of executives riding around in expensive vehicles. Audit your books!
Not auditing your books in 20 years speaks volumes of your duplicitous self-centeredness, as is your inability to serve. The fact is animals choose the best and brightest to lead, while teachers in Guyana have chosen the most corrupt to lead them. Quite interesting!
The work of the PPP/C in three short years has done tremendously well in lifting this country to a place of respectability, and for this, we say thank you. They have not raised their salaries, like the APNU, but have taken the pains to lift society as a whole to a better standard of living. Let this country move forward in peace.