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Guyana: Teachers threaten strike action

DISSATISFIED with the outcome of a meeting with the Ministry of Education (MoE) on Thursday morning, the Guyana Teacher’s Union has threatened to call out teachers on a strike come this September after their union rejected a government proposal of some $700M for salary increases for 2018.

President of the GTU, Mark Lyte, was met by immediate chants of “No School” from a collection of teachers, gathered outside of the MoE building, when they heard that the GTU could not accept what the MoE was offering. “We are militant right now. We need to march, we need to make these people hear us. Teachers have endured too much for too long, we have to take a formal stance. Full strike, school door don’t open,” said one teacher.

The teachers asked for the strike to begin from the pre-term activities in the week prior to school reopening and a continued absence of teachers in the first week of school. School is expected to resume on September 3. The GTU/MoE meeting marked the last of several that the two bodies have been having over the years as they continue to fail to come to an agreement on a way forward as it pertains to several issues facing the teachers, most pressing of those being salary negotiations and the teacher’s debauching monies.

“The GTU, coming out of this meeting, cannot say that we are in agreement of what has been counter proposed. We could have only agreed on a few things that were mentioned in the proposal,” Lyte informed his impassioned audience. “One of the most important areas would have been the debauching and increases (in salaries) by way of percentages. The government’s side made an offer with effect to current dates which we rejected. The union cannot accept current date payment when we would not have had an agreement from 2016 to now, so we would want things to be retroactively addressed.”

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