“Teachers, Govt continues to care for you” – Min. Henry

─ “We will ensure that as far as possible you get what we can afford”

─ second round of talks held, govt’s proposal remains the same

─ govt remains committed to teachers and education sector

─ “we have committed and demonstrated what it means to improve not only salaries but working conditions and employment conditions of our workers”

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, August 16, 2018

Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry met once again with the executives of the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU).

Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry

The meeting today was described as productive as the parties were able to iron out some of the issues that were unresolved at the previous meeting on Thursday, August 9.

Speaking to the media moments after, Minister Henry stressed that its initial proposals to the Union remain the same as this is what the government can afford at this time. She said the government has always been committed to the teachers and the education sector.

“As a government, we have committed and demonstrated what it means to improve not only salaries but working conditions and employment conditions of our workers,” Minister Henry told the media.

According to Minister Henry, most of the non-financial issues were settled at today’s meeting.

Addressing talks of a potential strike by teachers, Minister Henry said that while this was not communicated to her by the GTU, there are Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) that guide the ministry in any event of such actions. Part of that procedure includes arbitration if negotiation fails.

“If we genuinely believe that there are no other steps and we have exhausted all at the Ministry of Education… once they activate conciliation it is out of my hand,” Minister Henry said.

However, she hopes that teachers and the union can understand the financial position the nation faces currently.

“I want to say, teachers, that the Government of Guyana continues to care for you and we will ensure that as far as possible you get what we can afford. We promised a good life for all and we will work on what we have within our fiscal space to ensure the best we can do,” the Education Minister assured.

The GTU has a proposal of an across-the-board increase in salary of forty percent (40%) for 2016, forty-five percent in (2017), fifty percent (50%) in 2018, fifty percent (50%) in 2019 and fifty percent (50%) in 2020 be granted to all categories of teachers/teacher educators for the years 2016-2020.

The ministry’s counterproposal states that the Government will make available a ballpark figure to facilitate an increase in salaries for all teachers based on the current salary scale. Government’s ballpark figure of $700M for teachers’ salary increases and the previously proposed $200M for debunching for 2018 remains the same.

By: Alexis Rodney

Image: Keno George

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