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GTU to meet Govt today on salary impasse

first_img– fresh counterproposals expectedA team of executive members of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) headed by its President, Mark Lyte, will be heading into another round of discussions with Government today.Lyte had initially expressed concerns over statements made by Education Minister Nicolette Henry on Wednesday in relation to the issues between the two entities.The GTU President also claimed that the Minister’s statement on the negotiations was “laced with inaccuracies”, as he explained that there was never any plan for a follow-up meeting.“The Union having looked at the counterproposal indicated what we were in agreement with and what we didn’t agree with. Some were withdrawn, and we said we wouldn’t pursue them,” he said.However, Lyte argued that there was no plan for a follow-up meeting, because at the end of the last one on Thursday, August 9, the idea was for the Union toEducation Minister Nicolette Henryaccept what they had on the table.He said, “Whether in the minds of Government, it was implied; the Union cannot work on implied meanings. What was said at the table is this is what Government can afford…the ballpark figure.”Lyte maintained that there was no plan for a follow-up and consideration given to coming up with another figure. “The (Education) Ministry never offered that option,” he emphasised.Further, the GTU President believes that the ballpark figure was disrespectful to teachers, “because if you look at it, that figure divided among 10,000 teachers, we were not talking about a multi-year payout, we were talking about a one-year payout.”He reasoned that had the GTU accepted that proposal, that money would have amounted to $5000 per teacher per month across the board for one year.“So what happens to 2016 to 2020? We could not have accepted that ballpark figure. The other ballpark figure that was on offer was debunching,” he added.The GTU official said that the Union has been engaging the Administration about debunching that is outstanding with an agreement that was established since 2011.“We believe one Government inherits what another Government had signed and, therefore, we hold this Government responsible for paying debunching,” he stated.Lyte noted that Government was requesting that the Union forget about that agreement and agree to a debunching payoff of $200 million for 2018-19. “Now that is disrespectful!” he said.The GTU on Tuesday received correspondence from Minister Henry with an invitation outlining that there was to be a follow-up meeting and the Union now had to justify what it was proposing.The GTU President said that that was discussed in the task force set up for that purpose, and there was a green document that the task force would have created with the justifications.Having looked at the contents of the letter, Lyte said the Union had to seek some clarity from the Minister before it agreed to have discussions surrounding the issue.“We already know what we proposed, what was accepted and recommended by the task force … So what is being put to the table has no bearing to what was discussed in the task force? So why did we meet in the task force in the first placeGTU President Mark Lytefor five months?” he questioned.Lyte continued, “These are all the questions that cause us not to want to trust the Administration to go to the extent to say we are going to the table again. To do what?On Monday, the GTU circulated a letter to inform its members that they were not to report for pre-term activities until further notice, as it mobilised teachers for a planned strike. The Union has also urged head teachers to also begin handing over school keys to the respective regional education officials.Lyte told this newspaper on Tuesday that a majority of teachers were against the Administration’s “unreasonable” proposals brought to the Union. The GTU Head added that for now, a “full out” strike has not begun, but if nothing came to the table, there would be picketing and later, several marches.The Union Head envisions that 90 per cent of teachers in the public schools were ready to support the GTU’s move.Negotiations have been ongoing since 2015 when the Multi-Year Agreement came to an end.The meeting between both parties is expected to take place at 14:00h at the Ministry.last_img read more

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