BREAKING : GTU and Ministry of Education agree to arbitration

Chief Labour Officer , Charles Ogle addresses reporters during a break in the meeting.

…strike to be called-off , terms of resumption being ironed out

The Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU) have agreed to move to arbitration in the teachers’ pay dispute.

This was disclosed by Chief Labour Officer Charles Ogle who stepped out of the meeting that is still ongoing between the two parties.

What is Arbitration ?

-Settlement of a dispute (whether of fact, law, or procedure) between parties to a contract by a neutral third party (the arbitrator) without resorting to court action.

Arbitration is usually voluntary but sometimes it is required by law. If both sides agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision (the ‘award’) it becomes a binding arbitration.

The exact procedure to be followed (if not included in the contract under dispute) is governed usually by a country’s arbitration laws, or by the arbitration rules prescribed by the International Chamber Of Commerce (ICC). (Source:Business Directory)

In light of Thursday’s development , an arbitration panel would deliberate on evidence presented by both parties. Following the deliberation, the decision made by the panel would be binding.

Union leaders on Wednesday called for a meeting with President David Granger, stating that they do not want to talk with both the ministries of Education and Social Protection.

However, Minister of Education , Nicolette Henry reminded the GTU that the process detailed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement must be followed for progressive decisions to be made. Henry stressed on Wednesday, “We cannot at this point in time move back to negotiations…We have to move forward or we have to conclude it [today].”

Though the strike has been affecting scores of children, the ministry has initiated its contingency plan to mitigate the situation by deploying trainee and retiree teachers.

Veteran Trade Unionist Lincoln Lewis, said the only way to resolve the issue is to continue the collective bargaining process. “The best thing to do is go to arbitration and have it resolved…When an arbitration happens, the agreement will be final and binding; based on what the panel decides that is what you will get,” he said.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon has said that teachers will only be satisfied if the Guyana Teachers Union agrees to engage the government. “No one benefits from arguing in the street…we will continue to engage the union to find a common ground and have the teachers in the classrooms,” said the minister in an invited comment on Tuesday.

This news story will be updated as we receive details.