Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
| With half of 2022 gone, the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) is yet to hear from the Government when talks will begin on wages/salary increase and improved working conditions consistent with the proposal submitted almost two years ago. Collective Bargaining is a constitutional right guaranteed to unionised workers.
In an interview with Ms. Coretta McDonald, the Union’s General Secretary, this paper was told there has been no talks with the Union and the Irfaan Ali Government which entered office in August 2020. McDonald said “there has been no talks, in as much as the Union has repeatedly sent their proposal, and wrote inquiring when the talks will begin.”
Initially, after several inquiries and reminders to the Ministry of Education about the proposal, the Union said it was informed all negotiations have moved to the Office of the President and that office will contact the Union when they are ready to begin talks. The Office of the President, which comes directly under President Ali’s supervision, has to date remained mum about when negotiations will begin.
The Teachers’ proposal, which looks at increasing wages and salary and improving working conditions, includes within:- increasing pay across the board; increasing pay for additional qualifications; improvement in class size vis a vis teacher/student ratio; paternity leave (fathers being on leave when their wives are on maternity leave); regularising Whitley Council leave; paying risk allowance to head teachers and teachers living in compound where there are dorm schools; expanding duty free concession for motor vehicles and the awarding of scholarship to attend the University of Guyana.
The Government has taken away the provisions the Union had in preparing the lists for duty free concession and scholarship but this notwithstanding the Union said it stands ready and waiting to begin talks with the Government.
As the Government ignores collective bargaining in the teaching and public services, unions considered aligned to the government, like the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), are treated differently.