TEACHERS are expected to return to their classrooms today after the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) quit their strike on Thursday afternoon following agreement by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to take the pay dispute to arbitration.
The GTU has guaranteed full resumption of teachers by Monday, according to the terms of resumption agreement signed between GTU and the MoE.
“From day one we insisted that this matter should go to arbitration and we’ve achieved that today, much to the pleasure of our members,” announced GTU President Mark Lyte as he exited what was the last conciliation meeting between the MoE and GTU.
“The union will be calling the strike off with immediate effect. For those teachers who can resume duty [today] they will, but we assure that full resumption will be on Monday. The GTU wishes to thank you [the teachers] for showing solidarity and standing behind us through this struggle and today we are happy that we are emerging as one group of people with determination to say we deserve the best.”
After a three-hour meeting in the Department of Labour boardroom, the GTU executives emerged in bright smiles and were met with chants of celebrations from a large gathering of teachers outside as they announced that the strike was off since their demand for arbitration was acceded to.
Other terms as part of the resumption agreement guaranteed no loss of pay, loss of seniority or victimisation of any teachers who participated in the almost two-week strike.
The GTU and MoE will now meet again next Tuesday to work out the terms of reference for the arbitration process, which is expected to be presided over by a panel comprising a mutually agreed upon chairman, a representative from the GTU and a representative from the MoE.