December 20 set as deadline for end of teachers pay talks

The high level task force currently negotiating teachers’ pay and conditions has set December 20, 2017 as their deadline for completion.

President of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) Mark Lyte explained to Stabroek News yesterday that while the negotiation process is behind schedule it has been “going good” so far.

“We have been able to make some significant progress so far and have set a timeline,” he said.

He noted that the team has agreed on their Terms of Reference and have once again come to a consensus on the non-salary aspects of the multi-year agreement.

Financial matters are set to be discussed at the next meeting on Wednesday.

The task force was constituted on October 30 effectively averting a strike that had been planned for that week.

At the time of its formation General Secretary of the union, Coretta McDonald, explained to Stabroek News that the union which has been engaging the Ministry of Education since December 2015 is “confident” that this new phase of negotiations will “yield results.”

Since then the team has had four scheduled meetings two of which were missed.

“We’ll be doubling up from our next meeting to ensure we meet the deadline,” Lyte explained.

The union had notified the public that its members would proceed with strike action after it rejected a declaration by the Ministry of Education that teachers would have to accept the same wage and salary increases announced for other public servants.

This offer increases the monthly minimum wage from $55,555 to $60,000. Additionally, those earning between $55,555 and $99,999 will receive an 8 % increase; those earning between $100,000 and $299,999 will receive a 6% increase; those earning between $300,000 and $499,999 will receive a 5 % increase; those earning between $500,000 and $699,999 will receive a 4% increase; those earning between $700,000 and $799,000 will receive a 2 % increase; and those earning between $800,000 and $1 million will receive a 0.5% increase. The increases are all retroactive to January.

Immediately following the union’s declaration President David Granger reached out to smooth ruffled feathers and Minister of State Joseph Harmon walked back the ministry’s statement.

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