GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday September 7, 2018 – Teachers in Guyana are back on the job today, after conciliatory talks between their union and the Education Ministry resulted in an agreement to end strike action that had been triggered by government’s refusal to meet their pay increase demands.
Officials from the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) yesterday signed a Terms of Resumption, which will see the two sides going to binding arbitration. The deal brought an end to three days of industrial action at the beginning of the new school year.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, GTU’s President Mark Lyte said some teachers could be expected back in the classroom from as early as today, while all of them will return to work on Monday.
Twenty-four hours after the full resumption of duties by teachers, the GTU and the Ministry will meet to determine the Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the arbitration panel as guidance to the Memorandum of Understanding between the two sides.
The Terms of Resumption also state that there will be no victimization on either side, there will be no loss of pay or seniority, and that the status quo will prevail.
The GTU had proposed a 40 per cent increase in salary for 2016, 45 per cent in 2017, 50 per cent in 2018, 50 per cent in 2019 and 50 per cent in 2020 be granted to all categories of teachers/educators for the years 2016 through 2020.
But the Education Ministry’s counter-proposal had made available GYD$700 million (US$3.3 million) to facilitate an increase in salaries for all teachers based on the current salary scale and the previously proposed GYD$200 million (US$952,190) for debunching for 2018.
Unlike conciliation, where the parties in a dispute are brought together with an independent third-party (facilitator) to settle the matter through negotiations, arbitration involves an independent third-party hearing the evidence brought by both sides and making a final decision.