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Govt rejects GTU’s proposed arbitrators

first_imgTeachers’ salary impasse…Union vows not to be bulliedThe Education Ministry on Friday rejected the Guyana Teachers’ Union’s (GTU) proposed arbitrators without giving a reason, resulting in the Union also rejecting the Ministry’s arbitrators during the second meeting held this week to put an end to the ongoing teachers’ salary impasse.GTU President Mark Lyte, in a much-dissatisfied tone, told media operatives at the Labour Department that the two parties were unable to agree on a panel.“We were able to agree on the additional Terms of Reference for the tribunal but unfortunately couldn’t agree on the chairmanship of the tribunal panel,” he informed.The two officials which Government proposed were Permanent Secretary of the Telecommunications Ministry, Derrick Cummings and Human Resources Manager of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Glenndon Hariss.On the other hand, GTU proposed former Home Affairs Minister Jeffrey Thomas; former Foreign Affairs Minister, Rashleigh Jackson and an experienced arbitrator,GTU President Mark Lyte speaking to the media after Friday’s failed talksAubrey Armstrong.Lyte argued that the Ministry rejected their nominees without reason, while they rejected the Ministry’s due to no confidence issues.“They were all rejected with no reason given as to why they were rejected. The Ministry put forward two names which are all present and functioning Government official. Of course the Union had to reject those because we cannot accept nominees from the Government to chair,” he explained.According to Lyte, the Union requested a reason for rejection for its list of nominees only to be told “they can’t give reasons at this point in time.”General Secretary of the Union, Coretta McDonald, chimed in with the Union’s President saying they entered Friday’s meeting very optimistic that the officers would resolve the issue.“We were very optimistic that this (Friday) afternoon since we are serious about this whole business of education, that persons were going to sit here as matured individuals to arrive at names and even if we were to disagree on names that were submitted we would disagree with a purpose, a reason for disagreeing with the names,” she said.McDonald argued that the Ministry seems unconcerned about its teachers. “It has left us with one conclusion that the officials at the Ministry of Education, they are not serious about this business of education, they are not serious about awarding and rewarding teachers, they are not serious about anything”.Moreover, the General Secretary added that the ministry wants to bully the Union into getting them to do exactly what they want. “They want to get in to the mode of bullying the GTU so that we can accept whatever name they put forward to us”.She posited that the Union stands firm on the names it would have submitted and at this point is unwilling to change those.It was further disclosed that the two sides have not selected a day for another meeting, while the GTU has promised to engage its members over the weekend to decide on a way forward.When asked if the Union is considering resuming strike action, the smiling General Secretary noted, “We need to go through this process and if we cannot come to a resolution in terms of arriving at someone who is going to be the chairperson then we’ll decide what happens after then”.Education Minister Nicolette Henry who did not sit in Friday’s meeting was represented by the Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson, who walked out of the Boardroom dodging reporters after the failed talks.The GTU last Thursday called off the nationwide strike after the Government gave in to arbitration during the second round of conciliation talks, being mediated by Minister Keith Scott.At that time, some 4000 teachers were on strike after several talks failed between the two parties with regards to a salary increase for teachers. The Union said they were willing to accept a ‘substantial’ payout from the Government even after the GTU rejected Government’s request for teachers to agree to a debunching payoff of $200 million for 2018/19.Lyte said the Union similarly rejected the $700 million cap that was placed on salary increases which was for 2018 only.Government also wants the clothing allowance to remain at $8000, a figure which Lyte said was given in 2011. He said, too, that for Whitley Council Leave, teachers still have to wait four years before getting their one-month off, even though the GTU appealed for that period to be reduced to three years. (Davina Ramdass)last_img read more

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