Teachers to get increases, backpay by Christmas

Guyana Chronicle
December 20, 2002

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MINISTRY of Education has announced that it will raise teachers’ pay and make the payments in time for the Christmas holidays.

A press statement said the Ministry agreed to the increases, ranging between 15 and five per cent, arising out of the deadlock reached at conciliation and based on advice from the Ministry of Labour, that the collective bargaining agreement between Education Ministry and Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) does not bind either party to arbitration.

A junior teacher/teacher aide will get a 15 per cent hike; acting teacher 11 per cent; pupil teacher and temporary qualified/unqualified teachers eight per cent and all other categories five per cent, the statement said.

According to it, more than 4,000 of the lowest paid teachers will receive retroactive payment (backpay) averaging about $24,000 and the total payout will cost approximately $277M annually.

The Ministry said it decided to effect payments only after:

· the failure of GTU to initiate arbitration proceedings as indicated at the conciliation meeting on Monday, December 16, when the Union indicated its intention to do so but failed to respond to a request for the Labour Ministry to discuss the matter yesterday, December 19;

· it has exhausted the financial resources available to it at negotiations with the Union;

· bearing in mind the numerous requests by teachers for retroactive payment and

· receiving advice from Ministry of Labour that payments could be effected without breaching the collective labour agreement.

The statement, signed by Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Hydar Ally concluded:”The Ministry takes this opportunity to wish all teachers a happy holiday and will continue to work with all stakeholders in its continuing attempt to raise the qualify of education delivery to the nation's children.”

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