Skip to content

Teachers’ Union, education officials to meet for conciliation talks today

  • by

Education officials and representatives from the Guyana Teachers’ Union will meet for conciliation talks Monday morning.

The Ministry of Education on Sunday wrote to the Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton inviting his ministry to intervene in the matter with the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU).

The Education Ministry indicated that there is a breakdown in negotiations with the GTU regarding the question of which years the new multi-year agreement should address.

The Letter was sent one day before teachers took to the streets in a planned protest as part of ongoing strike action that re-commenced last Thursday.

The Education Ministry said, however, that its request is made under the provisions of the 1990 Memorandum of Agreement “the avoidance and settlement of disputes” between the Government of Guyana and the Guyana Teachers’ Union and the Labour Act, Cap. 98:01, which allows the impasse in respect of the timeframe to be referred to the Labour Minister for Conciliation.

“The latest decision was taken after the Ministry of Education wrote to the Union indicating its readiness and desire to meet immediately or at any time convenient to the Union to negotiate a multi-year agreement from 2024 onwards but the Union responded to say they were prepared only to meet to discuss years 2019 to 2023,” the Education Ministry added.

A meeting is scheduled for 10:30 hrs on Monday at the Ministry of Labour.

The GTU in a statement said it is very cognizant of attending the conciliation meeting since it addresses the 1990 agreement signed by both parties.

Notwithstanding, it said: “This meeting will not derail us from our planned engagements.”

An initial five-week strike began on February 5, with teachers demanding higher salary increases and duty-free concessions, among other benefits.

After a court-mediated process in March, talks between the Education Ministry and GTU resumed.

However, discussions halted when the Education Ministry indicated that there was no fiscal space to cater for increases for the period 2019 -2023.

On April 19, a court ruling by Judge Sandil Kissoon stated that teachers’ salaries should not be reduced because of their involvement in the previous five-week strike organised by the GTU. That ruling will soon be appealed; the government currently awaits the written decision of Justice Kissoon before the appeal is filed.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.