Teachers hopeful

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…GTU, MoE optimistic wages dispute will be settled today

EXECUTIVES of the Guyana Teachers’ Union are looking forward to a favourable resolution coming out of the meeting scheduled for today with the Ministry of Education (MoE).

On Wednesday both the union and the Education Ministry concluded what they jointly termed as “fruitful” discussions, where new information was placed on the table.

Coming out of the meeting, General Secretary of the GTU, Coretta McDonald had stated: “Teachers can sleep easier, knowing that something good is expected to come on Friday.”
This high hope continued on Thursday as GTU Field-Secretary, Lancelot Baptiste, told the newspaper that the union believes that the matter has reached a promising stage of resolution. “We are waiting for tomorrow’s meeting. After yesterday’s meeting we both left with the understanding that both parties will go back to the drawing board and look to see what is there and go tomorrow with an idea of having everything resolved. So, we are waiting on that meeting,” he said.

When asked whether there is more optimism going forward to today’s meeting, Baptiste said: “Definitely.”

He added that the matter has already been discussed among their members with the union having relayed to them that they are now awaiting today’s results.

Meanwhile, GTU General Secretary, Coretta McDonald told the newspaper yesterday that she, too, was awaiting the new position to be put forward by the government. The Ministry of Education is expected to present today a “matrix of figures,” with the parties being committed to reviewing the new information with interest of all teachers as top priority.

Prior to this and following a meeting between President David Granger and the GTU, a new salary offer had been extended to the union.

It positioned that teachers would be paid retroactive salary increases beginning with 10 per cent for 2016, and incremental increases of 8 per cent for 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Meanwhile, a sum of $350M was being offered for debunching for the period 2011 – 2018.

Although the union has not confirmed its acceptance of such, McDonald stated at the last meeting that the issue of salary increases will be carefully addressed. The GTU is presently being supported by the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), which have reaffirmed their solidarity on various occasions.

Ahead of today’s meeting, GTUC General Secretary, Lincoln Lewis said that although no one knows yet what will become of today’s meeting, the union stands to defend the best interest of its members.

“I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. They can have a resolution or they may not have a resolution. It depends on what the parties are going with to the table,” Lewis said, adding: “The Union has a responsibility to its membership and it is they who will have to be satisfied with it, not the TUC, not me or anybody outside of the union.” The GTU and MoE are expected to meet today at 10:00hrs at the Ministry of Education’s Boardroom.